Critical assessment of influenza VLP production in Sf9 and HEK293 expression systems.
ABSTRACT: Each year, influenza is responsible for hundreds of thousand cases of illness and deaths worldwide. Due to the virus' fast mutation rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) is constantly on alert to rapidly respond to emerging pandemic strains. Although anti-viral therapies exist, the most proficient way to stop the spread of disease is through vaccination. The majority of influenza vaccines on the market are produced in embryonic hen's eggs and are composed of purified viral antigens from inactivated whole virus. This manufacturing system, however, is limited in its production capacity. Cell culture produced vaccines have been proposed for their potential to overcome the problems associated with egg-based production. Virus-like particles (VLPs) of influenza virus are promising candidate vaccines under consideration by both academic and industry researchers.In this study, VLPs were produced in HEK293 suspension cells using the Bacmam transduction system and Sf9 cells using the baculovirus infection system. The proposed systems were assessed for their ability to produce influenza VLPs composed of Hemagglutinin (HA), Neuraminidase (NA) and Matrix Protein (M1) and compared through the lens of bioprocessing by highlighting baseline production yields and bioactivity. VLPs from both systems were characterized using available influenza quantification techniques, such as single radial immunodiffusion assay (SRID), HA assay, western blot and negative staining transmission electron microscopy (NSTEM) to quantify total particles.For the HEK293 production system, VLPs were found to be associated with the cell pellet in addition to those released in the supernatant. Sf9 cells produced 35 times more VLPs than HEK293 cells. Sf9-VLPs had higher total HA activity and were generally more homogeneous in morphology and size. However, Sf9 VLP samples contained 20 times more baculovirus than VLPs, whereas 293 VLPs were produced along with vesicles.This study highlights key production hurdles that must be overcome in both expression platforms, namely the presence of contaminants and the ensuing quantification challenges, and brings up the question of what truly constitutes an influenza VLP candidate vaccine.
Project description:Virus-like particles (VLPs) consisting of the influenza A virus proteins haemagglutinin (HA) and matrix protein (M1) represent a new alternative approach for vaccine design against influenza virus. Influenza VLPs can be fast and easily produced in sufficient amounts in insect cells using the baculovirus expression system. Up to now, influenza VLPs have been produced in the Spodoptera frugiperda cell line Sf9. We compared VLP production in terms of yield and quality in two insect cell lines, namely Sf9 and the Trichoplusia ni cell line BTI-TN5B1-4 (High Five). Additionally we compared VLP production with three different HAs and two different M1s from influenza H1 and H3 strains including one swine-origin pandemic H1N1 strain. Comparison of the two cell lines showed dramatic differences in baculovirus background as well as in yield and particle density. Taken together, we consider the establishment of the BTI-TN5B1-4 cell line advantageous as production cell line for influenza VLPs.
Project description:Recent outbreaks of influenza A highlight the importance of rapid and sufficient supply for pandemic and inter-pandemic vaccines. Classical manufacturing methods for influenza vaccines fail to satisfy this demand. Alternatively, cell culture-based production systems and virus-like particle (VLP)-based technologies have been established. We developed swine-origin pandemic H1N1 influenza VLPs consisting of hemagglutinin (A/California/04/2009) and matrix protein. Hemagglutinin and matrix protein were co-expressed in insect cells by the baculovirus expression system. VLPs were harvested from infection supernatants, purified and used for intraperitoneal immunization of BALB/c mice. Immunization induced high serum antibody titers against A/California/04/2009 as well as hemagglutination inhibiting antibodies. Additionally, we compared VLP production in two different insect cell lines, Sf9 and BTI-TN5B1-4 (High Five). Taken together VLPs represent a potential strategy for the fight against new pandemic influenza viruses.
Project description:SARS-CoV was the cause of the global pandemic in 2003 that infected over 8000 people in 8 months. Vaccines against SARS are still not available. We developed a novel method to produce high levels of a recombinant SARS virus-like particles (VLPs) vaccine containing the SARS spike (S) protein and the influenza M1 protein using the baculovirus insect cell expression system. These chimeric SARS VLPs have a similar size and morphology to the wild type SARS-CoV. We tested the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of purified chimeric SARS VLPs and full length SARS S protein vaccines in a mouse lethal challenge model. The SARS VLP vaccine, containing 0.8 ?g of SARS S protein, completely protected mice from death when administered intramuscular (IM) or intranasal (IN) routes in the absence of an adjuvant. Likewise, the SARS VLP vaccine, containing 4 ?g of S protein without adjuvant, reduced lung virus titer to below detectable level, protected mice from weight loss, and elicited a high level of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV. Sf9 cell-produced full length purified SARS S protein was also an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV but only when co-administered IM with aluminum hydroxide. SARS-CoV VLPs are highly immunogenic and induce neutralizing antibodies and provide protection against lethal challenge. Sf9 cell-based VLP vaccines are a potential tool to provide protection against novel pandemic agents.
Project description:During the past decade, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses have diversified genetically and antigenically, suggesting the need for multiple H5N1 vaccines. However, preparation of multiple vaccines from live H5N1 HPAI viruses is difficult and economically not feasible representing a challenge for pandemic preparedness. Here we evaluated a novel multi-clade recombinant H5N1 virus-like particle (VLP) design, in which H5 hemagglutinins (HA) and N1 neuraminidase (NA) derived from four distinct clades of H5N1 virus were co-localized within the VLP structure. The multi-clade H5N1 VLPs were prepared by using a recombinant baculovirus expression system and evaluated for functional hemagglutination and neuraminidase enzyme activities, particle size and morphology, as well as for the presence of baculovirus in the purified VLP preparations. To remove residual baculovirus, VLP preparations were treated with beta-propiolactone (BPL). Immunogenicity and efficacy of multi-clade H5N1 VLPs were determined in an experimental ferret H5N1 HPAI challenge model, to ascertain the effect of BPL on immunogenicity and protective efficacy against lethal challenge. Although treatment with BPL reduced immunogenicity of VLPs, all vaccinated ferrets were protected from lethal challenge with influenza A/VietNam/1203/2004 (H5N1) HPAI virus, indicating that multi-clade VLP preparations treated with BPL represent a potential approach for pandemic preparedness vaccines.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses, especially H5N1 strains, represent a public health threat and cause widespread morbidity and mortality in domestic poultry. Recombinant virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a promising novel vaccine approach to control avian influenza including HPAI strains. Influenza VLPs contain viral hemagglutinin (HA), which can be expressed in cell culture within highly immunogenic VLPs that morphologically and antigenically resemble influenza virions, except VLPs are non-infectious. Here we describe a recombinant VLP containing HA proteins derived from three distinct clades of H5N1 viruses as an experimental, broadly protective H5 avian influenza vaccine. A baculovirus vector was configured to co-express the H5 genes from recent H5N1 HPAI isolates A/chicken/Germany/2014 (clade 126.96.36.199), A/chicken/West Java/Subang/29/2007 (clade 2.1.3) and A/chicken/Egypt/121/2012 (clade 2.2.1). Co-expression of these genes in Sf9 cells along with influenza neuraminidase (NA) and retrovirus gag genes resulted in production of triple-clade H555 VLPs that exhibited hemagglutination activity and morphologically resembled influenza virions. Vaccination of chickens with these VLPs resulted in induction of serum antibody responses and efficient protection against experimental challenges with three different viruses including the recent U.S. H5N8 HPAI isolate. We conclude that these novel triple-clade VLPs represent a feasible strategy for simultaneously evoking protective antibodies against multiple variants of H5 influenza virus.
Project description:Influenza VLPs comprised of hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix (M1) proteins have been previously used for immunological and virological studies. Here we demonstrated that influenza VLPs can be made in Sf9 cells by using the bovine immunodeficiency virus gag (Bgag) protein in place of M1. We showed that Bgag can be used to prepare VLPs for several influenza subtypes including H1N1 and H10N8. Furthermore, by using Bgag, we prepared quadri-subtype VLPs, which co-expressed within the VLP the four HA subtypes derived from avian-origin H5N1, H7N9, H9N2 and H10N8 viruses. VLPs showed hemagglutination and neuraminidase activities and reacted with specific antisera. The content and co-localization of each HA subtype within the quadri-subtype VLP were evaluated. Electron microscopy showed that Bgag-based VLPs resembled influenza virions with the diameter of 150-200nm. This is the first report of quadri-subtype design for influenza VLP and the use of Bgag for influenza VLP preparation.
Project description:An outbreak of influenza H1N1 in 2009, representing the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century, was transmitted to over a million individuals and claimed 18,449 lives. The current status in many countries is to prepare influenza vaccine using cell-based or egg-based killed vaccine. However, traditional influenza vaccine platforms have several limitations. To overcome these limitations, many researchers have tried various approaches to develop alternative production platforms. One of the alternative approach, we reported the efficacy of influenza HA vaccination using a baculoviral DNA vaccine (AcHERV-HA). However, the immune response elicited by the AcHERV-HA vaccine, which only targets the HA antigen, was lower than that of the commercial killed vaccine. To overcome the limitations of this previous vaccine, we constructed a human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) envelope-coated, baculovirus-based, virus-like-particle (VLP)-forming DNA vaccine (termed AcHERV-VLP) against pandemic influenza A/California/04/2009 (pH1N1). BALB/c mice immunized with AcHERV-VLP (1×10(7) FFU AcHERV-VLP, i.m.) and compared with mice immunized with the killed vaccine or mice immunized with AcHERV-HA. As a result, AcHERV-VLP immunization produced a greater humoral immune response and exhibited neutralizing activity with an intrasubgroup H1 strain (PR8), elicited neutralizing antibody production, a high level of interferon-? secretion in splenocytes, and diminished virus shedding in the lung after challenge with a lethal dose of influenza virus. In conclusion, VLP-forming baculovirus DNA vaccine could be a potential vaccine candidate capable of efficiently delivering DNA to the vaccinee and VLP forming DNA eliciting stronger immunogenicity than egg-based killed vaccines.
Project description:The H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009 stimulated interest in developing safe and effective subunit influenza vaccines using rapid and cost-effective recombinant technologies that can avoid dependence on hens' eggs supply and live viruses for production. Among alternative approaches to subunit vaccine development, virus-like particles (VLPs) represent an attractive strategy due to their safety and immunogenicity. Previously, we have produced a recombinant monomeric hemagglutinin (HA) protein derived from the A/California/04/09 (H1N1) strain of influenza virus in a plant-based transient expression system and demonstrated immunogenicity and safety of this monomeric HA in animal models and human volunteers. In an effort to produce higher potency influenza vaccine in plants, we have designed and generated enveloped VLPs using the ectodomain of HA from the A/California/04/09 strain and heterologous sequences. The resulting H1 HA VLPs (HAC-VLPs) elicited robust hemagglutination inhibition antibody responses in mice at doses lower than 1 µg in the presence or absence of Alhydrogel adjuvant. These results suggest enhanced immunogenicity of recombinant HA in the form of an enveloped VLP over soluble antigen.
Project description:We have constructed virus-like particles (VLPs) harboring hemagglutinin (HA), neuraminidase (NA), matrix protein 1 (M1) ,and proton channel protein (M2) using baculovirus as a vector in the SF9 insect cell. The size of the expressed VLP was estimated to be ~100 nm by light scattering experiment and transmission electron microscopy. Recognition of HA on the VLP surface by the HA2-specific monoclonal antibody IIF4 at acidic pH, as probed by surface plasmon resonance, indicated the pH-induced structural rearrangement of HA. Uptake of the particle by A549 mediated by HA-sialylose receptor interaction was visualized by the fluorescent-labeled VLP. The HA-promoted cell-virus fusion activity was illustrated by fluorescence imaging on the Jurkat cells incubated with rhodamine-loaded VLP performed at fusogenic pH. Furthermore, the green fluorescence protein (GFP) was fused to NA to produce VLP with a pH-sensitive probe, expanding the use of VLP as an antigen carrier and a tool for viral tracking.
Project description:Recombinant virus-like particles (VLPs) have been shown to induce protective immunity. Despite their potential significance as promising vaccine candidates, the protein composition of VLPs produced in insect cells has not been well characterized. Here we report a proteomic analysis of influenza VLPs containing hemagglutinin (HA) and matrix M1 proteins from a human isolate of avian influenza H5N1 virus (H5 VLPs) produced in insect cells using the recombinant baculovirus expression system. Comprehensive proteomic analysis of purified H5 VLPs identified viral proteins and 37 additional host-derived proteins, many of which are known to be present in other enveloped viruses. Proteins involved in different cellular structures and functions were found to be present in H5 VLPs including those from the cytoskeleton, translation, chaperone, and metabolism. Immunization with purified H5 VLPs induced protective immunity, which was comparable to the inactivated whole virus containing all viral components. Unpurified H5 VLPs containing excess amounts of noninfluenza soluble proteins also conferred 100% protection against lethal challenge although lower immune responses were induced. These results provide important implications consistent with the idea that VLP production in insect cells may involve similar cellular machinery as other RNA enveloped viruses during synthesis, assembly, trafficking, and budding processes.