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Vaccine 2012 May 14;30(23):3413-22

Production and characterization of mammalian virus-like particles from modified vaccinia virus Ankara vectors expressing influenza H5N1 hemagglutinin and neuraminidase.

Schmeisser F, Adamo JE, Blumberg B, Friedman R, Muller J, Soto J, Weir JP


Several studies have described the production of influenza virus-like particles (VLP) using a variety of platform systems. These VLPs are non-replicating particles that spontaneously self-assemble from expressed influenza virus proteins and have been proposed as vaccine candidates for both seasonal and pandemic influenza. Although still in the early stages of development and evaluation as influenza vaccines, influenza VLPs have a variety of other valuable uses such as examining and understanding correlates of protection against influenza and investigating virus-cell interactions. The most common production system for influenza VLPs is the baculovirus-insect cell expression which has several attractive features including the ease in which new gene combinations can be constructed, the immunogenicity elicited and protection afforded by the produced VLPs, and the scalability offered by the system. However, there are differences between the influenza VLPs produced by baculovirus expression systems in insect cells and the influenza viruses produced for use as current vaccines or the virus produced during a productive clinical infection. We describe here the development of a modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) system to generate mammalian influenza VLPs containing influenza H5N1 proteins. The MVA vector system is flexible for manipulating and generating various VLP constructs, expresses high level of influenza hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix (M) proteins, and can be scaled up to produce VLPs in quantities sufficient for in vivo studies. We show that mammalian VLPs are generated from recombinant MVA vectors expressing H5N1 HA alone, but that increased VLP production can be achieved if NA is co-expressed. These mammalian H5N1 influenza VLPs have properties in common with live virus, as shown by electron microscopy analysis, their ability to hemagglutinate red blood cells, express neuraminidase activity, and to bind influenza specific antibodies. Importantly, these VLPs are able to elicit a protective immune response in a mouse challenge model, suggesting their utility in dissecting the correlates of immunity in such models. Mammalian derived VLPs may also provide a useful tool for studying virus-cell interactions and may have potential for development as pandemic vaccines.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #22465746 DOI: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.03.033
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2011-10-04 Entry Last Modified: 2012-08-29