Distinct Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Poxvirus-Based Vaccine Candidates against Ebola Virus Expressing GP and VP40 Proteins.
ABSTRACT: Zaire and Sudan ebolavirus species cause a severe disease in humans and nonhuman primates (NHPs) characterized by a high mortality rate. There are no licensed therapies or vaccines against Ebola virus disease (EVD), and the recent 2013 to 2016 outbreak in West Africa highlighted the need for EVD-specific medical countermeasures. Here, we generated and characterized head-to-head the immunogenicity and efficacy of five vaccine candidates against Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) and Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV) based on the highly attenuated poxvirus vector modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing either the virus glycoprotein (GP) or GP together with the virus protein 40 (VP40) forming virus-like particles (VLPs). In a human monocytic cell line, the different MVA vectors (termed MVA-EBOVs and MVA-SUDVs) triggered robust innate immune responses, with production of beta interferon (IFN-?), proinflammatory cytokines, and chemokines. Additionally, several innate immune cells, such as dendritic cells, neutrophils, and natural killer cells, were differentially recruited in the peritoneal cavity of mice inoculated with MVA-EBOVs. After immunization of mice with a homologous prime/boost protocol (MVA/MVA), total IgG antibodies against GP or VP40 from Zaire and Sudan ebolavirus were differentially induced by these vectors, which were mainly of the IgG1 and IgG3 isotypes. Remarkably, an MVA-EBOV construct coexpressing GP and VP40 protected chimeric mice challenged with EBOV to a greater extent than a vector expressing GP alone. These results support the consideration of MVA-EBOVs and MVA-SUDVs expressing GP and VP40 and producing VLPs as best-in-class potential vaccine candidates against EBOV and SUDV.IMPORTANCE EBOV and SUDV cause a severe hemorrhagic fever affecting humans and NHPs. Since their discovery in 1976, they have caused several sporadic epidemics, with the recent outbreak in West Africa from 2013 to 2016 being the largest and most severe, with more than 11,000 deaths being reported. Although some vaccines are in advanced clinical phases, less expensive, safer, and more effective licensed vaccines are desirable. We generated and characterized head-to-head the immunogenicity and efficacy of five novel vaccines against EBOV and SUDV based on the poxvirus MVA expressing GP or GP and VP40. The expression of GP and VP40 leads to the formation of VLPs. These MVA-EBOV and MVA-SUDV recombinants triggered robust innate and humoral immune responses in mice. Furthermore, MVA-EBOV recombinants expressing GP and VP40 induced high protection against EBOV in a mouse challenge model. Thus, MVA expressing GP and VP40 and producing VLPs is a promising vaccine candidate against EBOV and SUDV.
Project description:One year after a Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) outbreak occurred in the Boende Health Zone of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during 2014, we sought to determine the breadth of immune response against diverse filoviruses including EBOV, Bundibugyo (BDBV), Sudan (SUDV), and Marburg (MARV) viruses. After assessing the 15 survivors, 5 individuals demonstrated some degree of reactivity to multiple ebolavirus species and, in some instances, Marburg virus. All 5 of these survivors had immunoreactivity to EBOV glycoprotein (GP) and EBOV VP40, and 4 had reactivity to EBOV nucleoprotein (NP). Three of these survivors showed serologic responses to the 3 species of ebolavirus GPs tested (EBOV, BDBV, SUDV). All 5 samples also exhibited ability to neutralize EBOV using live virus, in a plaque reduction neutralization test. Remarkably, 3 of these EBOV survivors had plasma antibody responses to MARV GP. In pseudovirus neutralization assays, serum antibodies from a subset of these survivors also neutralized EBOV, BDBV, SUDV, and Taï Forest virus as well as MARV. Collectively, these findings suggest that some survivors of naturally acquired ebolavirus infection mount not only a pan-ebolavirus response, but also in less frequent cases, a pan-filovirus neutralizing response.
Project description:For Ebola virus (EBOV), 4 different species are known: Zaire, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, and Reston ebolavirus. The newly discovered Bundibugyo ebolavirus has been proposed as a 5th species. So far, no cross-neutralization among EBOV species has been described, aggravating progress toward cross-species protective vaccines. With the use of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccines, guinea pigs could be protected against Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) infection only when immunized with a vector expressing the homologous, but not a heterologous, EBOV glycoprotein (GP). However, infection of guinea pigs with nonadapted wild-type strains of the different species resulted in full protection of all animals against subsequent challenge with guinea pig-adapted ZEBOV, showing that cross-species protection is possible. New vectors were generated that contain EBOV viral protein 40 (VP40) or EBOV nucleoprotein (NP) as a second antigen expressed by the same rVSV vector that encodes the heterologous GP. After applying a 2-dose immunization approach, we observed an improved cross-protection rate, with 5 of 6 guinea pigs surviving the lethal ZEBOV challenge if vaccinated with rVSV-expressing SEBOV-GP and -VP40. Our data demonstrate that cross-protection between the EBOV species can be achieved, although EBOV-GP alone cannot induce the required immune response.
Project description:There are currently no licensed therapeutic treatment or preventive vaccines against Ebolavirus disease, and the 2013-2016 West African outbreak of Ebolavirus disease spread rapidly and resulted in almost 30,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths. However, the devastating outbreak has spurred the development of novel Ebolavirus vaccines. Here, we demonstrate that alphavirus-based DNA-launched self-replicating RNA replicon vaccines (DREP) encoding either the glycoprotein (GP) gene or co-expressing the GP and VP40 genes of Sudan or Zaire Ebolavirus are immunogenic in mice inducing both binding and neutralizing antibodies as well as CD8 T cell responses. In addition, antibodies were cross-reactive against another Ebolavirus, although the specificity was higher for the vaccination antigen. DREP vaccines were more immunogenic than recombinant MVA vaccines expressing the same Ebolavirus antigens. However, a DREP prime followed by an MVA boost immunization regimen improved vaccine immunogenicity as compared to DREP and MVA homologous prime-boost immunizations. Moreover, we show that a bivalent approach targeting both Sudan and Zaire Ebolavirus can be employed without significant loss of immunity. This opens for further investigation of a pan-Ebolavirus or even a pan-filovirus vaccine.
Project description:Ebola virus infections lead to severe hemorrhagic fevers in humans and nonhuman primates; and human fatality rates are as high as 67%-90%. Since the Ebola virus was discovered in 1976, the only available treatments have been medical support or the emergency administration of experimental drugs. The absence of licensed vaccines and drugs against the Ebola virus impedes the prevention of viral infection. In this study, we generated recombinant baculoviruses (rBV) expressing the Sudan virus (SUDV) matrix structural protein (VP40) (rBV-VP40-VP40) or the SUDV glycoprotein (GP) (rBV-GP-GP), and SUDV virus-like particles (VLPs) were produced by co-infection of Sf9 cells with rBV-SUDV-VP40 and rBV-SUDV-GP. The expression of SUDV VP40 and GP in SUDV VLPs was demonstrated by IFA and Western blot analysis. Electron microscopy results demonstrated that SUDV VLPs had a filamentous morphology. The immunogenicity of SUDV VLPs produced in insect cells was evaluated by the immunization of mice. The analysis of antibody responses showed that mice vaccinated with SUDV VLPs and the adjuvant Montanide ISA 201 produced SUDV GP-specific IgG antibodies. Sera from SUDV VLP-immunized mice were able to block infection by SUDV GP pseudotyped HIV, indicating that a neutralizing antibody against the SUDV GP protein was produced. Furthermore, the activation of B cells in the group immunized with VLPs mixed with Montanide ISA 201 was significant one week after the primary immunization. Vaccination with the SUDV VLPs markedly increased the frequency of antigen-specific cells secreting type 1 and type 2 cytokines. To study the therapeutic effects of SUDV antibodies, horses were immunized with SUDV VLPs emulsified in Freund's complete adjuvant or Freund's incomplete adjuvant. The results showed that horses could produce SUDV GP-specific antibodies and neutralizing antibodies. These results showed that SUDV VLPs demonstrate excellent immunogenicity and represent a promising approach for vaccine development against SUDV infection. Further, these horse anti-SUDV purified immunoglobulins lay a foundation for SUDV therapeutic drug research.
Project description:The recent Zaire Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak in West Africa illustrates clearly the need for additional studies with humans and animals to elucidate the ecology of Ebola viruses (EBVs). In this study, we developed a serological assay based on the Luminex technology. Nine recombinant proteins representing different viral regions (nucleoprotein [NP], 40-kDa viral protein [VP40], and glycoprotein [GP]) from four of the five EBV lineages were used. Samples from 94 survivors of the EBOV outbreak in Guinea and negative samples from 108 patients in France were used to calculate test performance for EBOV detection and cross-reaction with other Ebola virus lineages. For EBOV antibody detection, sensitivities of 95.7%, 96.8%, and 92.5% and specificities of 94.4%, 95.4%, and 96.3% for NP, GP, and VP40, respectively, were observed. All EBOV-negative samples that presented a reaction, except for one, interacted with a single antigen, whereas almost all samples from EBOV survivors were simultaneously reactive with NP and GP (90/94) or with NP, GP, and VP40 (87/94). Considering as positive for past EBOV infection only samples that reacted with EBOV NP and GP, sensitivity was 95.7% and specificity increased to 99.1%. Comparing results with commercial EBOV NP and GP enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs; Alpha Diagnostic, San Antonio, TX), lower sensitivity (92.5%) and high specificity (100%) were observed with the same positivity criteria. Samples from EBOV survivors cross-reacted with GP from Sudan Ebola virus (GP-SUDV) (81.9%), GP from Bundibugyo Ebola virus (GP-BDBV) (51.1%), GP from Reston Ebola virus (GP-RESTV) (9.6%), VP40-SUDV (76.6%), and VP40-BDBV (38.3%). Overall, we developed a sensitive and specific high-throughput serological assay, and defined an algorithm, for epidemiological surveys with humans.
Project description:Filoviruses cause hemorrhagic fever resulting in significant morbidity and mortality in humans. Several vaccine platforms that include multiple virus-vectored approaches and virus-like particles (VLPs) have shown efficacy in nonhuman primates. Previous studies have shown protection of cynomolgus macaques against homologous infection for Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) following a three-dose vaccine regimen of EBOV or MARV VLPs, as well as heterologous protection against Ravn Virus (RAVV) following vaccination with MARV VLPs. The objectives of the current studies were to determine the minimum number of vaccine doses required for protection (using EBOV as the test system) and then demonstrate protection against Sudan virus (SUDV) and Taï Forest virus (TAFV). Using the EBOV nonhuman primate model, we show that one or two doses of VLP vaccine can confer protection from lethal infection. VLPs containing the SUDV glycoprotein, nucleoprotein and VP40 matrix protein provide complete protection against lethal SUDV infection in macaques. Finally, we demonstrate protective efficacy mediated by EBOV, but not SUDV, VLPs against TAFV; this is the first demonstration of complete cross-filovirus protection using a single component heterologous vaccine within the Ebolavirus genus. Along with our previous results, this observation provides strong evidence that it will be possible to develop and administer a broad-spectrum VLP-based vaccine that will protect against multiple filoviruses by combining only three EBOV, SUDV and MARV components.
Project description:Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg) cause severe hemorrhagic fever. There are five species of ebolavirus; among these, the Ebola (Zaire) and Sudan viruses (EBOV and SUDV, respectively) are highly pathogenic and have both caused recurring, large outbreaks. However, the EBOV and SUDV glycoprotein (GP) sequences are 45% divergent and thus antigenically distinct. Few antibodies with cross-neutralizing properties have been described to date. We used antibody engineering to develop novel bispecific antibodies (Bis-mAbs) that are cross-reactive toward base epitopes on GP from EBOV and SUDV. These Bis-mAbs exhibit potent neutralization against EBOV and SUDV GP pseudotyped viruses as well as authentic pathogens, and confer a high degree (in one case 100%) post-exposure protection of mice from both viruses. Our studies show that a single agent that targets the GP base epitopes is sufficient for protection in mice; such agents could be included in panfilovirus therapeutic antibody cocktails.
Project description:The search for a universal filovirus vaccine that provides protection against multiple filovirus species has been prompted by sporadic but highly lethal outbreaks of Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus infections. A good prophylactic vaccine should be able to provide protection to all known filovirus species and as an upside potentially protect from newly emerging virus strains. We investigated the immunogenicity and protection elicited by multivalent vaccines expressing glycoproteins (GP) from Ebola virus (EBOV), Sudan virus (SUDV), Taï Forest virus (TAFV) and Marburg virus (MARV). Immune responses against filovirus GP have been associated with protection from disease. The GP antigens were expressed by adenovirus serotypes 26 and 35 (Ad26 and Ad35) and modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) vectors, all selected for their strong immunogenicity and good safety profile. Using fully lethal NHP intramuscular challenge models, we assessed different vaccination regimens for immunogenicity and protection from filovirus disease. Heterologous multivalent Ad26-Ad35 prime-boost vaccination regimens could give full protection against MARV (range 75%-100% protection) and EBOV (range 50% to 100%) challenge, and partial protection (75%) against SUDV challenge. Heterologous multivalent Ad26-MVA prime-boost immunization gave full protection against EBOV challenge in a small cohort study. The use of such multivalent vaccines did not show overt immune interference in comparison with monovalent vaccines. Multivalent vaccines induced GP-specific antibody responses and cellular IFN? responses to each GP expressed by the vaccine, and cross-reactivity to TAFV GP was detected in a trivalent vaccine expressing GP from EBOV, SUDV and MARV. In the EBOV challenge studies, higher humoral EBOV GP-specific immune responses (p = 0.0004) were associated with survival from EBOV challenge and less so for cellular immune responses (p = 0.0320). These results demonstrate that it is feasible to generate a multivalent filovirus vaccine that can protect against lethal infection by multiple members of the filovirus family.
Project description:The ebolaviruses cause severe and rapidly progressing hemorrhagic fever. There are five ebolavirus species; although much is known about Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) and its neutralization by antibodies, little is known about Sudan ebolavirus (SUDV), which is emerging with increasing frequency. Here we describe monoclonal antibodies containing a human framework that potently inhibit infection by SUDV and protect mice from lethal challenge. The murine antibody 16F6, which binds the SUDV envelope glycoprotein (GP), served as the starting point for design. Sequence and structural alignment revealed similarities between 16F6 and YADS1, a synthetic antibody with a humanized scaffold. A focused phage library was constructed and screened to impart 16F6-like recognition properties onto the YADS1 scaffold. A panel of 17 antibodies were characterized and found to have a range of neutralization potentials against a pseudotype virus infection model. Neutralization correlated with GP binding as determined by ELISA. Two of these clones, E10 and F4, potently inhibited authentic SUDV and conferred protection and memory immunity in mice from lethal SUDV challenge. E10 and F4 were further shown to bind to the same epitope on GP as 16F6 with comparable affinities. These antibodies represent strong immunotherapeutic candidates for treatment of SUDV infection.
Project description:Cell surface receptors for phosphatidylserine contribute to the entry of Ebola virus (EBOV) particles, indicating that the presence of phosphatidylserine in the envelope of EBOV is important for the internalization of EBOV particles. Phosphatidylserine is typically distributed in the inner layer of the plasma membrane in normal cells. Progeny virions bud from the plasma membrane of infected cells, suggesting that phosphatidylserine is likely flipped to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane in infected cells for EBOV virions to acquire it. Currently, the intracellular dynamics of phosphatidylserine during EBOV infection are poorly understood. Here, we explored the role of XK-related protein (Xkr) 8, which is a scramblase responsible for exposure of phosphatidylserine in the plasma membrane of apoptotic cells, to understand its significance in phosphatidylserine-dependent entry of EBOV. We found that Xkr8 and transiently expressed EBOV glycoprotein GP often co-localized in intracellular vesicles and the plasma membrane. We also found that co-expression of GP and viral major matrix protein VP40 promoted incorporation of Xkr8 into ebolavirus-like particles (VLPs) and exposure of phosphatidylserine on their surface, although only a limited amount of phosphatidylserine was exposed on the surface of the cells expressing GP and/or VP40. Downregulating Xkr8 or blocking caspase-mediated Xkr8 activation did not affect VLP production, but they reduced the amount of phosphatidylserine on the VLPs and their uptake in recipient cells. Taken together, our findings indicate that Xkr8 is trafficked to budding sites via GP-containing vesicles, is incorporated into VLPs, and then promote the entry of the released EBOV to cells in a phosphatidylserine-dependent manner.