Efficient expression of enterovirus 71 based on virus-like particles vaccine.
ABSTRACT: Enterovirus (EV) 71 is the main pathogen associated with hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) and can lead to the disease with severe mortality in children. Since 2009, in the Republic of Korea, an outbreak of EV71 C4a infection with neurologic involvement emerged, where in HFMD involvement was identified and central nervous system complications were reported. In this study, EV71 C4a virus-like particles (VLPs) produced by recombinant technology were generated in a baculovirus expression system. To improve the production yield, EV71 VLP was constructed using the dual promoter system baculovirus P1 and 3CD (baculo-P1-3CD), which harbored both the structural protein-encoding P1 region under the control of the polyhedron promoter and the 3CD protease gene under the regulation of the CMV-IE, lef3, gp41, or chitinase promoters to augment the level of gene transcription. Efficient VLP expression was demonstrated through optimization of incubation time and insect cell type. In addition, to evaluate the potential of VLP as a vaccine candidate, we tested the neutralizing antibodies and total anti-EV71 IgG from the purified EV71 C4a VLP serum. The recombinant EV71 VLP exhibited the morphology of self-assembled VLP, as determined by electron microscopy. Use of baculo-P1-3CD-gp41 led to a high yield (11.3mg/L < 40kDa) of VLPs in High-FiveTM cells at 3 days post-infection. Furthermore, the potential of VLP as a vaccine was evaluated through the neutralizing ability elicited by the purified EV71 VLP after immunization of BALB/c mice, which was shown to induce potent and long-lasting humoral immune responses as evidenced by the cross-neutralization titer. Our results could be used to expedite the developmental process for vaccines under clinical trials and to ensure manufacturing consistency for licensing requirements.
Project description:Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) are the two most common etiological agents responsible for the epidemics of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD), a childhood illness with occasional severe neurological complications. A number of vaccine candidates against EV71 or CA16 have been reported; however, no vaccine is currently available for clinical use. Here, we generated a secreted version of EV71 and CA16 virus-like particles (VLPs) using a baculovirus-insect cell expression system and reconstructed the three-dimensional (3D) structures of both VLPs by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) single-particle analysis at 5.2-Å and 5.5-Å resolutions, respectively. The reconstruction results showed that the cryo-EM structures of EV71 and CA16 VLPs highly resemble the recently published crystal structures for EV71 natural empty particles and CA16 135S-like expanded particles, respectively. Our cryo-EM analysis also revealed that the majority of previously identified linear neutralizing epitopes are well preserved on the surface of EV71 and CA16 VLPs. In addition, both VLPs were able to induce efficiently neutralizing antibodies against various strains of EV71 and CA16 viruses in mouse immunization. These studies provide a structural basis for the development of insect cell-expressed VLP vaccines and for a potential bivalent VLP vaccine against both EV71- and CA16-associated HFMD.The recent outbreaks of hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) in the Asia Pacific region spurred the search for effective vaccines against EV71 and CA16 viruses, the two most common etiological agents responsible for HFMD. In this paper, we show that secreted versions of EV71 and CA16 VLPs generated in the baculovirus-insect cell expression system highly resemble the crystal structures of their viral conterparts and that the majority of previously identified linear neutralizing epitopes are well preserved on the VLP surfaces. In addition, the generated VLPs can efficiently induce neutralizing antibodies against various strains of EV71 and CA16 viruses in mouse immunization. These studies provide a structural basis for the development of insect cell-expressed VLP vaccines and for a potential bivalent VLP vaccine against both EV71- and CA16-associated HFMD.
Project description:Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackieviruses (CV) are the major causative agents of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). There is not currently a vaccine available against HFMD, even though a newly developed formalin-inactivated EV71 (FI-EV71) vaccine has been tested in clinical trial and has shown efficacy against EV71. We have designed and genetically engineered a recombinant adenovirus Ad-EVVLP with the EV71 P1 and 3CD genes inserted into the E1/E3-deleted adenoviral genome. Ad-EVVLP were produced in HEK-293A cells. In addition to Ad-EVVLP particles, virus-like particles (VLPs) formed from the physical association of EV71 capsid proteins, VP0, VP1, and VP3 expressed from P1 gene products. They were digested by 3CD protease and confirmed to be produced by Ad-EVVLP-producing cells, as determined using transmission electron microscopy and western blotting. Mouse immunogenicity studies showed that Ad-EVVLP-immunized antisera neutralized the EV71 B4 and C2 genotypes. Activation of VLP-specific CD4+ and CD8+/IFN-? T cells associated with Th1/Th2-balanced IFN-?, IL-17, IL-4, and IL-13 was induced; in contrast, FI-EV71 induced only Th2-mediated neutralizing antibody against EV71 and low VLP-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. The antiviral immunity against EV71 was clearly demonstrated in mice vaccinated with Ad-EVVLP in a hSCARB2 transgenic (hSCARB2-Tg) mouse challenge model. Ad-EVVLP-vaccinated mice were 100% protected and demonstrated reduced viral load in both the CNS and muscle tissues. Ad-EVVLP successfully induced anti-CVA16 immunities. Although antisera had no neutralizing activity against CVA16, the 3C-specific CD4+ and CD8+/IFN-? T cells were identified, which could mediate protection against CVA16 challenge. FI-EV71 did not induce 3C-mediated immunity and had no efficacy against the CVA16 challenge. These results suggest that Ad-EVVLP can enhance neutralizing antibody and protective cellular immune responses to prevent EV71 infection and cellular immune responses against CV infection.
Project description:Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is responsible for the outbreaks of hand-foot-and-mouth disease in the Asia-Pacific region. To produce the virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine, we previously constructed recombinant baculoviruses to co-express EV71 P1 polypeptide and 3CD protease using the Bac-to-Bac(®) vector system. The recombinant baculoviruses resulted in P1 cleavage by 3CD and subsequent VLP assembly in infected insect cells, but caused either low VLP yield or excessive VLP degradation. To tackle the problems, here we explored various expression cassette designs and flashBAC GOLD™ vector system which was deficient in v-cath and chiA genes. We found that the recombinant baculovirus constructed using the flashBAC GOLD™ system was insufficient to improve the EV71 VLP yield. Nonetheless, BacF-P1-C3CD, a recombinant baculovirus constructed using the flashBAC GOLD(TM) system to express P1 under the polh promoter and 3CD under the CMV promoter, dramatically improved the VLP yield while alleviating the VLP degradation. Infection of High Five(TM) cells with BacF-P1-C3CD enhanced the total and extracellular VLP yield to ?268 and ?171?mg/L, respectively, which enabled the release of abundant VLP into the supernatant and simplified the downstream purification. Intramuscular immunization of mice with 5??g purified VLP induced cross-protective humoral responses and conferred protection against lethal virus challenge. Given the significantly improved extracellular VLP yield (?171?mg/L) and the potent immunogenicity conferred by 5??g VLP, one liter High Five(TM) culture produced ?12,000 doses of purified vaccine, thus rendering the EV71 VLP vaccine economically viable and able to compete with inactivated virus vaccines.
Project description:Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is one of the major causative agents for hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in children. Although there are three inactivated virus-based HFMD vaccines licensed in China, alternative approaches have been taken to produce an effective and safer vaccine that is easier to manufacture in large scale. Among these, a virus-like particles (VLPs) based EV71 vaccine is under active development. For this purpose, an efficient methodology for the production of EV71-VLPs by recombinant technology is needed. We here report the construction and expression of the P1 and 3C genes of EV71 in Pichia pastoris for producing VLP-based EV71 vaccine antigen with a high yield and simple manufacturing process. Based on codon-optimized P1 and 3C genes, EV71-VLPs were efficiently expressed in Pichia pastoris system, and the expression level reached 270 mg/L. Biochemical and biophysical analyses showed that the produced EV71-VLPs consisted of processed VP0, VP1, and VP3 present as ~35nm spherical particles. The immune response as a function of EV71-VLPs and adjuvant dose ratio was investigated for vaccine development. Immunization with EV71-VLPs of 1-5 µg/dose and adjuvant of 225 µg/dose induced robust neutralizing antibody responses in mice and provided effective protection against lethal challenge in both maternally transferred antibody and passive transfer protection mouse models. Therefore, the yeast produced EV71-VLPs antigen is a promising candidate for the development of a vaccine against HFMD.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) are the two major causative agents for hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). Previously, we demonstrated that a virus-like particle (VLP) for EV71 produced from Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a potential vaccine candidate against EV71 infection, and an EV71/CVA16 chimeric VLP can elicit protective immune responses against both virus infections. Here, we presented the crystal structures of both VLPs, showing that both the linear and conformational neutralization epitopes identified in EV71 are mostly preserved on both VLPs. The replacement of only 4 residues in the VP1 GH loop converted strongly negatively charged surface patches formed by portions of the SP70 epitope in EV71 VLP into a relatively neutral surface in the chimeric VLP, which likely accounted for the additional neutralization capability of the chimeric VLP against CVA16 infection. Such local variations in the amino acid sequences and the surface charge potential are also present in different types of polioviruses. In comparison to EV71 VLP, the chimeric VLP exhibits structural changes at the local site of amino acid replacement and the surface loops of all capsid proteins. This is consistent with the observation that the VP1 GH loop located near the pseudo-3-fold junction is involved in extensive interactions with other capsid regions. Furthermore, portions of VP0 and VP1 in EV71 VLP are at least transiently exposed, revealing the structural flexibility of the VLP. Together, our structural analysis provided insights into the structural basis of enterovirus neutralization and novel vaccine design against HFMD and other enterovirus-associated diseases.Our previous studies demonstrated that the enterovirus 71 (EV71) virus-like particle (VLP) produced from yeast is a vaccine candidate against EV71 infection and that a chimeric EV71/coxsackievirus A16 (CVA16) VLP with the replacement of 4 amino acids in the VP1 GH loop can confer protection against both EV71 and CVA16 infections. This study reported the crystal structures of both the EV71 VLP and the chimeric EV71/CVA16 VLP and revealed that the major neutralization epitopes of EV71 are mostly preserved in both VLPs. In addition, the mutated VP1 GH loop in the chimeric VLP is well exposed on the particle surface and exhibits a surface charge potential different from that contributed by the original VP1 GH loop in EV71 VLP. Together, this study provided insights into the structural basis of enterovirus neutralization and evidence that the yeast-produced VLPs can be developed into novel vaccines against hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) and other enterovirus-associated diseases.
Project description:Enterovirus 71(EV71) has caused severe epidemics of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in the Asia Pacific in recent years, particularly in infants and pre-school children. It has become a serious public health threat, as currently there are no approved vaccines or antiviral drugs for EV71 infection. Many EV71 vaccines have been under development worldwide, however the main focus is inactivated EV71 vaccines. For example, the inactivated EV71 vaccine has recently finished phase III clinical trial in Mainland China. There have been very few studies on EV71 virus like particles (VLPs). In this study, the immunogenicity and protective potency of the EV71 VLPs produced in insect cells were evaluated in mice with different dosages. Our results showed that EV71 VLPs could elicit high titers of neutralizing antibodies (NTAbs) in a dose-dependent manner and NTAbs were sustained after the second injection with an average GMT (geometric mean titer) level from 19 to 2960 in immunized mice. Survival rates were 100%, 100%, 85%, and 40% after challenge with 15 LD50 (median lethal dose) of EV71 in these newborn mice, respectively. ED50 (50% effective dose) of VLPs was 0.20 ?g/dose in newborn mice, while NTAb titer under this dosage was about 50. Passive protection was determined with 2 methods and demonstrated that the survival rates were positively correlated with NTAb titers, which at 24 and 54 induced 50% survival rates in experimental animals. The ED50 of VLP vaccines and the passive NTAb titers were also analyzed. The maternal NTAb titer was similar as the passive NTAb titer in the mouse model challenged with our lethal mouse EV71 strain. Hence, our work has provided preliminary data on the protection potency of VLPs as a vaccine candidate and would facilitate future VLP vaccine development.
Project description:Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease that mainly affects infants and children, causing considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. HFMD is commonly caused by enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackieviruses A16 (CVA16), A6 (CVA6), and A10 (CVA10). Formalin-inactivated EV71 vaccines are currently available in China; however, these vaccines fail to confer cross-protection against infections by other HFMD-causing enteroviruses, highlighting the necessity of developing a multivalent HFMD vaccine. Our previous studies demonstrated that recombinant virus-like particles (VLP) of EV71, CVA16, and CVA6 are capable of inducing protective immunity against homologous virus challenges in mice. In this study, we generated CVA10-VLP using a baculovirus-insect cell expression system and then combined CVA10-VLP with EV71-VLP, CVA16-VLP, and CVA6-VLP to formulate a tetravalent VLP vaccine. Immunogenicity and protective efficacy of tetravalent VLP vaccine was compared with that of monovalent VLP vaccines. Mouse immunization studies revealed that the tetravalent vaccine elicited antigen-specific and long-lasting serum antibody responses comparable to those elicited by its corresponding monovalent vaccines. Moreover, tetravalent vaccine immune sera strongly neutralized EV71, CVA16, CVA10, and CVA6 strains with neutralization titers similar to those of their monovalent counterparts, indicating a good compatibility among the four antigens in the combination vaccine. Importantly, passively transferred tetravalent vaccine-immunized sera conferred efficient protection against single or mixed infections with EV71, CVA16, CVA10, and CVA6 viruses in mice, whereas the monovalent vaccines could only protect mice against homotypic virus infections but not heterotypic challenges. These results demonstrate that the tetravalent VLP vaccine represents a promising broad-spectrum HFMD vaccine candidate.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) is a major causative pathogen of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and has caused outbreaks with significant mortality among young children in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years. Towards developing a vaccine for this disease, we have expressed and purified EV71 virus-like particles (VLPs), which resemble the authentic virus in appearance, capsid structure and protein sequence, from insect cells (Sf9) using a multistep chromatography process. We demonstrated intracellular localization of the VLPs in host cells by in situ immunogold detection, electron microscopy and immunofluorescence. Characteristics of these EV71 VLPs were studied using a variety of immunological and physicochemical techniques, which aimed to reveal that the purified EV71 VLPs have good morphology and structure consistent with natural EV71 empty capsids. Results of the amino acid analysis, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting and high-performance liquid chromatography confirmed the high purity of the EV71 VLPs. However the sedimentation coefficient of the VLPs showed that they were smaller than that of secreted EV71 VLPs purified by discontinuous cesium chloride density gradients, they were similar to the empty capsids of natural EV71 virions reported previously. Combined with the previous study that EV71 VLPs purified by a multistep chromatography process were able to elicit strong humoral immune responses in mice, our results further supported the conclusion that our EV71 VLPs had well-preserved molecular and structural characteristics. The EV71 VLPs produced from the baculovirus expression system and purified by a multistep chromatography process displayed key structural and immunological features, which would contribute to their efficacy as a HFMD vaccine.
Project description:Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) has been increasingly associated with severe respiratory illness and neurological complications in children worldwide. However, no vaccine is currently available to prevent EV-D68 infection. In the present study, we investigated the possibility of developing a virus-like particle (VLP)-based EV-D68 vaccine. We found that co-expression of the P1 precursor and 3CD protease of EV-D68 in Pichia pastoris yeast resulted in the generation of EV-D68 VLPs, which were composed of processed VP0, VP1, and VP3 capsid proteins and were visualized as ~30 nm spherical particles. Mice immunized with these VLPs produced serum antibodies capable of specifically neutralizing EV-D68 infections in vitro. The in vivo protective efficacy of the EV-D68 VLP candidate vaccine was assessed in two challenge experiments. The first challenge experiment showed that neonatal mice born to the VLP-immunized dams were fully protected from lethal EV-D68 infection, whereas in the second experiment, passive transfer of anti-VLP sera was found to confer complete protection in the recipient mice. Collectively, these results demonstrate the proof-of-concept for VLP-based broadly effective EV-D68 vaccines.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) are the major etiological agents of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and are often associated with neurological complications. Currently, several vaccine types are being developed for EV71 and CA16. In this study, we constructed a bivalent chimeric virus-like particle (VLP) presenting the VP1 (aa208-222) and VP2 (aa141-155) epitopes of EV71 using hepatitis B virus core protein (HBc) as a carrier, designated HBc-E1/2. Immunization with the chimeric VLPs HBc-E1/2 induced higher IgG titers and neutralization titers against EV71 and CA16 in vitro than immunization with only one epitope incorporated into HBc. Importantly, passive immunization with the recombinant HBc-E2 particles protected neonatal mice against lethal EV71 and CA16 infections. We demonstrate that anti-VP2 (aa141-155) sera bound authentic CA16 viral particles, whereas anti-VP1 (aa208-222) sera could not. Moreover, the anti-VP2 (aa141-155) antibodies inhibited the binding of human serum to virions, which demonstrated that the VP2 epitope is immunodominant between EV71 and CA16. These results illustrated that the chimeric VLP HBc-E1/2 is a promising candidate for a broad-spectrum HFMD vaccine, and also reveals mechanisms of protection by the neighboring linear epitopes of the VP1 GH and VP2 EF loops.