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Display of Domain III from Dengue 2 Envelope Protein on HBsAg Virus-like Particles Vectored by Measles Virus

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Dengue virus infects millions of people every year. Yet there is still no vaccine available to prevent it. Here we use a neutralizing epitope determinant on the dengue envelope (E) protein as an immunogen to be vectored by a measles

Dengue virus infects millions of people every year. Yet there is still no vaccine available to prevent it. Here we use a neutralizing epitope determinant on the dengue envelope (E) protein as an immunogen to be vectored by a measles virus (MV) vaccine. However the domain III (DIII) of the dengue 2 E protein is too small to be immunogenic by itself. In order for it to be displayed on a larger particle, it was inserted into the amino terminus of small hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg, S) coding sequence. To generate the recombinant MV vector and verify the efficiency of this concept, a reverse genetics system was used where the MV vectors express one or two additional transcription units to direct the assembly of hybrid HBsAg particles. Two types of recombinant measles virus were produced: pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P and pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S)N. Virus recovered from pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P was viable. An ELISA assay was performed to demonstrate the expression and secretion of HBsAg. Supernatant from MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P infected cells confirmed that hybrid HBsAg-domain III particles with a density similar to traditional HBsAg particles were released. Characteristics of the subviral particle have been analyzed for the successful incorporation of domain III. The replication fitness of the recombinant MV was evaluated using multi-step growth kinetics and showed reduced replication fitness when compared to the parental strain MVvac2. This demonstrates that viral replication is hindered by the addition of the two inserts into MV genome. Further analysis of MVvac2(DIII-S)N is needed to justify immune response studies in a small animal model using both of the generated recombinant vectors.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Lessons from vaccinia virus post-exposure prophylaxis: insights into control of diseases and epidemics

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The concept of vaccination dates back further than Edward Jenner's first vaccine using cowpox pustules to confer immunity against smallpox in 1796. Nevertheless, it was Jenner's success that gave vaccines their name and made vaccinia virus (VACV) of particular interest.

The concept of vaccination dates back further than Edward Jenner's first vaccine using cowpox pustules to confer immunity against smallpox in 1796. Nevertheless, it was Jenner's success that gave vaccines their name and made vaccinia virus (VACV) of particular interest. More than 200 years later there is still the need to understand vaccination from vaccine design to prediction of vaccine efficacy using mathematical models. Post-exposure vaccination with VACV has been suggested to be effective if administered within four days of smallpox exposure although this has not been definitively studied in humans. The first and second chapters analyze post-exposure prophylaxis of VACV in an animal model using v50ΔB13RMγ, a recombinant VACV expressing murine interferon gamma (IFN-γ) also known as type II IFN. While untreated animals infected with wild type VACV die by 10 days post-infection (dpi), animals treated with v50ΔB13RMγ 1 dpi had decreased morbidity and 100% survival. Despite these differences, the viral load was similar in both groups suggesting that v50ΔB13RMγ acts as an immunoregulator rather than as an antiviral. One of the main characteristics of VACV is its resistance to type I IFN, an effect primarily mediated by the E3L protein, which has a Z-DNA binding domain and a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding domain. In the third chapter a VACV that independently expresses both domains of E3L was engineered and compared to wild type in cells in culture. The dual expression virus was unable to replicate in the JC murine cell line where both domains are needed together for replication. Moreover, phosphorylation of the dsRNA dependent protein kinase (PKR) was observed at late times post-infection which indicates that both domains need to be linked together in order to block the IFN response. Because smallpox has already been eradicated, the utility of mathematical modeling as a tool for predicting disease spread and vaccine efficacy was explored in the last chapter using dengue as a disease model. Current modeling approaches were reviewed and the 2000-2001 dengue outbreak in a Peruvian region was analyzed. This last section highlights the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration and how it benefits research on infectious diseases.

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Date Created
2011

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Vaccination strategy to protect against flavivirus infection based on recombinant measles vaccine

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Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by viral interference. Problematically, infants younger than 9 year of age,

Despite the approval of a Dengue virus (DV) vaccine in five endemic countries, dengue prevention would benefit from an immunization strategy highly immunogenic in young infants and not curtailed by viral interference. Problematically, infants younger than 9 year of age, whom are particularly prone to Dengue severe infection and death, cannot be immunized using current approved DV vaccine. The most important issues documented so far are the lack of efficiency and enhancement of the disease in young seronegative recipients, as well as uneven protection against the four DV serotypes. Based on data from clinical trials that showed enhanced performance of dengue vaccines when the host has previous anti-flaviviral immunity, I proposed here an attractive solution to complement the current vaccine: a recombinant measles vaccine vectoring dengue protective antigens to be administered to young infants. I hypothesized that recombinant measles virus expressing Dengue 2 and 4 antigens would successfully induce neutralizing responses against DV2 and 4 and the vaccine cocktail of this recombinant measles can prime anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity. For this dissertation, I generated and performed preclinical immune assessment for four novel Measles-Dengue (MV-DV) vaccine candidates. I generated four MVs expressing the pre membrane (prM) and full length or truncated (90%) forms of the major envelope (E) from DV2 and DV4. Two virus, MVvac2-DV2(prME)N and MVvac2-DV4(prME), expressed high levels of membrane associated full-length E, while the other two viruses, MVvac2-DV2(prMEsol)N and MVvac2-DV4(prMEsol)N, expressed and secreted truncated, soluble E protein to its extracellular environment. The last two vectored vaccines proved superior anti-dengue neutralizing responses comparing to its corresponding full length vectors. Remarkably, when MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N recombinant vaccines were combined, the vaccine cocktail was able to prime cross-neutralizing responses against DV 1 and the relatively distant 17D yellow fever virus attenuated strain. Thus, I identify a promising DV vaccination strategy, MVvac2-DV2/4(prMEsol)N, which can prime broad neutralizing immune responses by using only two of the four available DV serotypes. The current MV immunization scheme can be advantageus to prime broad anti-flaviviral neutralizing immunity status, which will be majorly boosted by subsequent chimeric Dengue vaccine approaches.

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Date Created
2016