Molecular and immunological characterization of a DNA-launched yellow fever virus 17D infectious clone.
ABSTRACT: Yellow fever virus (YFV)-17D is an empirically developed, highly effective live-attenuated vaccine that has been administered to human beings for almost a century. YFV-17D has stood as a paradigm for a successful viral vaccine, and has been exploited as a potential virus vector for the development of recombinant vaccines against other diseases. In this study, a DNA-launched YFV-17D construct (pBeloBAC-FLYF) was explored as a new modality to the standard vaccine to combine the commendable features of both DNA vaccine and live-attenuated viral vaccine. The DNA-launched YFV-17D construct was characterized extensively both in cell culture and in mice. High titres of YFV-17D were generated upon transfection of the DNA into cells, whereas a mutant with deletion in the capsid-coding region (pBeloBAC-YF/?C) was restricted to a single round of infection, with no release of progeny virus. Homologous prime-boost immunization of AAD mice with both pBeloBAC-FLYF and pBeloBAC-YF/?C elicited specific dose-dependent cellular immune response against YFV-17D. Vaccination of A129 mice with pBeloBAC-FLYF resulted in the induction of YFV-specific neutralizing antibodies in all vaccinated subjects. These promising results underlined the potential of the DNA-launched YFV both as an alternative to standard YFV-17D vaccination and as a vaccine platform for the development of DNA-based recombinant YFV vaccines.
Project description:By infecting mice with the yellow fever virus vaccine strain 17D (YFV-17D; Stamaril®), the dose dependence and evolutionary consequences of neurotropic yellow fever infection was assessed. Highly susceptible AG129 mice were used to allow for a maximal/unlimited expansion of the viral populations. Infected mice uniformly developed neurotropic disease; the virus was isolated from their brains, plaque purified and sequenced. Viral RNA populations were overall rather homogenous [Shannon entropies 0-0.15]. The remaining, yet limited intra-host population diversity (0-11 nucleotide exchanges per genome) appeared to be a consequence of pre-existing clonal heterogeneities (quasispecies) of Stamaril®. In parallel, mice were infected with a molecular clone of YFV-17D which was in vivo launched from a plasmid. Such plasmid-launched YFV-17D had a further reduced and almost clonal evolution. The limited intra-host evolution during unrestricted expansion in a highly susceptible host is relevant for vaccine and drug development against flaviviruses in general. Firstly, a propensity for limited evolution even upon infection with a (very) low inoculum suggests that fractional dosing as implemented in current YF-outbreak control may pose only a limited risk of reversion to pathogenic vaccine-derived virus variants. Secondly, it also largely lowers the chance of antigenic drift and development of resistance to antivirals.
Project description:Mosquito-borne yellow fever virus (YFV) causes highly lethal, viscerotropic disease in humans and non-human primates. Despite the availability of efficacious live-attenuated vaccine strains, 17D-204 and 17DD, derived by serial passage of pathogenic YFV strain Asibi, YFV continues to pose a significant threat to human health. Neither the disease caused by wild-type YFV, nor the molecular determinants of vaccine attenuation and immunogenicity, have been well characterized, in large part due to the lack of a small animal model for viscerotropic YFV infection. Here, we describe a small animal model for wild-type YFV that manifests clinical disease representative of that seen in primates without adaptation of the virus to the host, which was required for the current hamster YF model. Investigation of the role of type I interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) in protection of mice from viscerotropic YFV infection revealed that mice deficient in the IFN-alpha/beta receptor (A129) or the STAT1 signaling molecule (STAT129) were highly susceptible to infection and disease, succumbing within 6-7 days. Importantly, these animals developed viscerotropic disease reminiscent of human YF, instead of the encephalitic signs typically observed in mice. Rapid viremic dissemination and extensive replication in visceral organs, spleen and liver, was associated with severe pathologies in these tissues and dramatically elevated MCP-1 and IL-6 levels, suggestive of a cytokine storm. In striking contrast, infection of A129 and STAT129 mice with the 17D-204 vaccine virus was subclinical, similar to immunization in humans. Although, like wild-type YFV, 17D-204 virus amplified within regional lymph nodes and seeded a serum viremia in A129 mice, infection of visceral organs was rarely established and rapidly cleared, possibly by type II IFN-dependent mechanisms. The ability to establish systemic infection and cause viscerotropic disease in A129 mice correlated with infectivity for A129-derived, but not WT129-derived, macrophages and dendritic cells in vitro, suggesting a role for these cells in YFV pathogenesis. We conclude that the ability of wild-type YFV to evade and/or disable components of the IFN-alpha/beta response may be primate-specific such that infection of mice with a functional IFN-alpha/beta antiviral response is attenuated. Consequently, subcutaneous YFV infection of A129 mice represents a biologically relevant model for studying viscerotropic infection and disease development following wild-type virus inoculation, as well as mechanisms of 17D-204 vaccine attenuation, without a requirement for adaptation of the virus.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne pathogen representing a global health concern. It has been linked to fetal microcephaly and other birth defects and neurological disorders in adults. Sanofi Pasteur has engaged in the development of an inactivated ZIKV vaccine, as well as a live chimeric vaccine candidate ChimeriVax-Zika (CYZ) that could become a preferred vaccine depending on future ZIKV epidemiology. This report focuses on the CYZ candidate that was constructed by replacing the pre-membrane and envelope (prM-E) genes in the genome of live attenuated yellow fever 17D vaccine virus (YF 17D) with those from ZIKV yielding a viable CYZ chimeric virus. The replication rate of CYZ in the Vero cell substrate was increased by using a hybrid YF 17D-ZIKV signal sequence for the prM protein. CYZ was highly attenuated both in mice and in human in vitro models (human neuroblastoma and neuronal progenitor cells), without the need for additional attenuating modifications. It exhibited significantly reduced viral loads in organs compared to a wild-type ZIKV and a complete lack of neuroinvasion following inoculation of immunodeficient A129 mice. A single dose of CYZ elicited high titers of ZIKV-specific neutralizing antibodies in both immunocompetent and A129 mice and protected animals from ZIKV challenge. The data indicate that CYZ is a promising vaccine candidate against ZIKV.
Project description:Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a mosquito-borne member of the genus flavivirus, including other important human-pathogenic viruses, such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis, and Zika. Herein, we report identifying 129 YFV Class II epitopes in donors vaccinated with the live attenuated YFV vaccine (YFV-17D). A total of 1156 peptides predicted to bind 17 different common HLA-DRB1 allelic variants were tested using IFN? ELISPOT assays in vitro re-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from twenty-six vaccinees. Overall, we detected responses against 215 YFV epitopes. We found that the capsid and envelope proteins, as well as the non-structural (NS) proteins NS3 and NS5, were the most targeted proteins by CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells from YF-VAX vaccinated donors. In addition, we designed and validated by flow cytometry a CD4<sup>+</sup> mega pool (MP) composed of structural and non-structural epitopes in an independent cohort of vaccinated donors. Overall, this study provides a comprehensive prediction and validation of YFV epitopes in a cohort of YF-17D vaccinated individuals. With the design of a CD4 epitope MP, we further provide a useful tool to detect ex vivo responses of YFV-specific CD4 T cells in small sample volumes.
Project description:The highly efficacious live-attenuated 17D yellow fever (YF) vaccine is occasionally associated with rare life-threatening adverse events. Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a non-replicating poxvirus, has been used as a vaccine platform to safely deliver various antigens. A MVA-based YF vaccine (MVA-BN-YF) was tested with and without a non-mineral oil adjuvant in a hamster model of lethal YF disease and protective efficacy of this vaccine was compared with the 17D vaccine. The vaccine candidate MVA-BN-YF generated a protective response in hamsters infected with YFV that was comparable to protection by the live 17D vaccine. Similar levels of neutralizing antibody were observed in animals vaccinated with either vaccine alone or vaccine with adjuvant. Significant improvement in survival, weight change, and serum alanine aminotransferase levels were observed in vaccinated hamsters when administered 42 and 14?days prior to challenge with Jimenez YF virus (YFV). Neutralizing antibodies induced by MVA-BN-YF were transferred to naïve hamsters prior to virus challenge. Passive administration of neutralizing antibody 24?h prior to virus infection resulted in significantly improved survival and weight change. A trend toward reduced liver enzyme levels was also observed. MVA-BN-YF, therefore, represents a safe alternative to vaccination with live-attenuated YFV.
Project description:Yellow fever virus (YFV), a member of the genus Flavivirus, is a mosquito-borne pathogen that requires wild-type (wt), virulent strains to be handled at biosafety level (BSL) 3, with HEPA-filtration of room air exhaust (BSL3+). YFV is found in tropical regions of Africa and South America and causes severe hepatic disease and death in humans. Despite the availability of effective vaccines (17D-204 or 17DD), YFV is still responsible for an estimated 200,000 cases of illness and 30,000 deaths annually. Besides vaccination, there are no other prophylactic or therapeutic strategies approved for use in human YF. Current small animal models of YF require either intra-cranial inoculation of YF vaccine to establish infection, or use of wt strains (e.g., Asibi) in order to achieve pathology. We have developed and characterized a BSL2, adult mouse peripheral challenge model for YFV infection in mice lacking receptors for interferons ?, ?, and ? (strain AG129). Intraperitoneal challenge of AG129 mice with 17D-204 is a uniformly lethal in a dose-dependent manner, and 17D-204-infected AG129 mice exhibit high viral titers in both brain and liver suggesting this infection is both neurotropic and viscerotropic. Furthermore the use of a mouse model permitted the construction of a 59-biomarker multi-analyte profile (MAP) using samples of brain, liver, and serum taken at multiple time points over the course of infection. This MAP serves as a baseline for evaluating novel therapeutics and their effect on disease progression. Changes (4-fold or greater) in serum and tissue levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators as well as other factors associated with tissue damage were noted in AG129 mice infected with 17D-204 as compared to mock-infected control animals.
Project description:Mass vaccination with the live attenuated vaccine YF-17D is the current way to prevent infection with Yellow fever virus (YFV). However, 0.000012-0.00002% of vaccinated patients develop post-vaccination neurological syndrome (YEL-AND). Understanding the factors responsible for neuroinvasion, neurotropism, and neurovirulence of the vaccine is critical for improving its biosafety. The YF-FNV vaccine strain, known to be associated with a higher frequency of YEL-AND (0.3-0.4%) than YF-17D, is an excellent model to study vaccine neuroinvasiveness. We determined that neuroinvasiveness of YF-FNV occured both via infection and passage through human brain endothelial cells. Plaque purification and next generation sequencing (NGS) identified several neuroinvasive variants. Their neuroinvasiveness was not higher than that of YF-FNV. However, rebuilding the YF-FNV population diversity from a set of isolated YF-FNV-N variants restored the original neuroinvasive phenotype of YF-FNV. Therefore, we conclude that viral population diversity is a critical factor for YFV vaccine neuroinvasiveness.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Currently existing yellow fever (YF) vaccines are based on the live attenuated yellow fever virus 17D strain (YFV-17D). Although, a good safety profile was historically attributed to the 17D vaccine, serious adverse events have been reported, making the development of a safer, more modern vaccine desirable. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A gene encoding the precursor of the membrane and envelope (prME) protein of the YFV-17D strain was inserted into the non-replicating modified vaccinia virus Ankara and into the D4R-defective vaccinia virus. Candidate vaccines based on the recombinant vaccinia viruses were assessed for immunogenicity and protection in a mouse model and compared to the commercial YFV-17D vaccine. The recombinant live vaccines induced γ-interferon-secreting CD4- and functionally active CD8-T cells, and conferred full protection against lethal challenge already after a single low immunization dose of 10(5) TCID(50). Surprisingly, pre-existing immunity against wild-type vaccinia virus did not negatively influence protection. Unlike the classical 17D vaccine, the vaccinia virus-based vaccines did not cause mortality following intracerebral administration in mice, demonstrating better safety profiles. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The non-replicating recombinant YF candidate live vaccines induced a broad immune response after single dose administration, were effective even in the presence of a pre-existing immunity against vaccinia virus and demonstrated an excellent safety profile in mice.
Project description:The molecular basis of attenuation for live-attenuated vaccines is poorly understood. The yellow fever (YF) 17D vaccine virus was derived from the wild-type, parental strain Asibi virus by serial passage in chicken tissue and has proven to be a very safe and efficacious vaccine. We have previously shown that wild-type Asibi is a typical RNA virus with high genetic diversity, while the 17D vaccine virus has very little genetic diversity. To investigate this further, we treated Asibi and 17D viruses with ribavirin, a GTP analog with strong antiviral activity that increases levels of mutations in the viral genome. As expected, ribavirin treatment introduced mutations into the Asibi virus genome at a very high frequency and decreased viral infectivity while, in contrast, the 17D vaccine virus was resistant to ribavirin, as treatment with the antiviral introduced very few mutations into the genome, and viral infectivity was not lost. The results were confirmed for another YF wild-type parental and vaccine pair, a wild-type French viscerotropic virus and French neurotropic vaccine. Using recombinant Asibi and 17D viruses, ribavirin sensitivity was located to viral nonstructural genes. Thus, two live-attenuated YF vaccine viruses are genetically stable even under intense mutagenic pressure, suggesting that attenuation of live-attenuated YF vaccines is due, at least in part, to fidelity of the replication complex resulting in high genetic stability.IMPORTANCE Live-attenuated viral vaccines are highly safe and efficacious but represent complex and often multigenic attenuation mechanisms. Most of these vaccines have been generated empirically by serial passaging of a wild-type (WT) virus in cell culture. One of the safest and most effective live-attenuated vaccines is yellow fever (YF) virus strain 17D, which has been used for over 80?years to control YF disease. The availability of the WT parental strain of 17D, Asibi virus, and large quantities of clinical data showing the effectiveness of the 17D vaccine make this WT parent/vaccine pair an excellent model for investigating RNA virus attenuation. Here, we investigate a mechanism of 17D attenuation and show that the vaccine virus is resistant to the antiviral compound ribavirin. The findings suggest that attenuation is in part due to a low probability of reversion or mutation of the vaccine virus genome to WT, thus maintaining a stable genotype despite external pressures.
Project description:Despite the availability of an effective, live attenuated yellow fever virus (YFV) vaccine (YFV 17D), this flavivirus still causes up to ?60,000 deaths annually. A number of new approaches are seeking to address vaccine supply issues and improve safety for the immunocompromised vaccine recipients. Herein we describe an adult female IFNAR-/- mouse model of YFV 17D infection and disease that recapitulates many features of infection and disease in humans. We used this model to evaluate a new YFV vaccine that is based on a recently described chimeric Binjari virus (BinJV) vaccine technology. BinJV is an insect-specific flavivirus and the chimeric YFV vaccine (BinJ/YFV-prME) was generated by replacing the prME genes of BinJV with the prME genes of YFV 17D. Such BinJV chimeras retain their ability to replicate to high titers in C6/36 mosquito cells (allowing vaccine production), but are unable to replicate in vertebrate cells. Vaccination with adjuvanted BinJ/YFV-prME induced neutralizing antibodies and protected mice against infection, weight loss and liver pathology after YFV 17D challenge.