Yellow fever vaccine protects mice against Zika virus infection
ABSTRACT: Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged as an important infectious disease agent in Brazil in 2016. Infection usually leads to mild symptoms, but severe congenital neurological disorders and Guillain-Barré syndrome have been reported following ZIKV exposure. Creating an effective vaccine against ZIKV is a public health priority. We describe the protective effect of an already licensed attenuated yellow fever vaccine (YFV, 17DD) in type-I interferon receptor knockout mice (A129) and immunocompetent BALB/c and SV-129 (A129 background) mice infected with ZIKV. YFV vaccination provided protection against ZIKV, with decreased mortality in A129 mice, a reduction in the cerebral viral load in all mice, and weight loss prevention in BALB/c mice. The A129 mice that were challenged two and three weeks after the first dose of the vaccine were fully protected, whereas partial protection was observed five weeks after vaccination. In all cases, the YFV vaccine provoked a substantial decrease in the cerebral viral load. YFV immunization also prevented hippocampal synapse loss and microgliosis in ZIKV-infected mice. Our vaccine model is T cell-dependent, with AG129 mice being unable to tolerate immunization (vaccination is lethal in this mouse model), indicating the importance of IFN-γ in immunogenicity. To confirm the role of T cells, we immunized nude mice that we demonstrated to be very susceptible to infection. Immunization with YFV and challenge 7 days after booster did not protect nude mice in terms of weight loss and showed partial protection in the survival curve. When we evaluated the humoral response, the vaccine elicited significant antibody titers against ZIKV; however, it showed no neutralizing activity in vitro and in vivo. The data indicate that a cell-mediated response promotes protection against cerebral infection, which is crucial to vaccine protection, and it appears to not necessarily require a humoral response. This protective effect can also be attributed to innate factors, but more studies are needed to strengthen this hypothesis. Our findings open the way to using an available and inexpensive vaccine for large-scale immunization in the event of a ZIKV outbreak. Author summary Zika virus (ZIKV) is as an important infectious that may result in severe congenital neurological disorders. Our study reports that the current attenuated yellow fever vaccine is effective in immunizing against the infection caused by the Zika virus, due to the similarity between the two viruses. To study the efficacy of the vaccine, we used different mouse strains, including both animals with a healthy immune system (immunocompetent) and animals with compromised immune systems and therefore more susceptible to viral (immunocompromised) infections. The vaccine was given subcutaneously, as it does in humans. The animals were inoculated with the Zika virus directly into the brain—a protocol normally adopted in vaccine studies to simulate a high lethality infection. In all cases, the vaccinated mice developed a high degree of protection against Zika infection. Altogether, we demonstrate that the YFV vaccine elicits an immune response that protects against cerebral infection by ZIKV. Our findings suggest the possibility of using an available and inexpensive vaccine for large-scale immunization in the event of a ZIKV outbreak.
Project description:The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic in the Americas, followed by the yellow fever virus (YFV) outbreaks in Angola and Brazil highlight the urgent need for safe and efficient vaccines against the ZIKV as well as much greater production capacity for the YFV-17D vaccine. Given that the ZIKV and the YFV are largely prevalent in the same geographical areas, vaccines that would provide dual protection against both pathogens may obviously offer a significant benefit. We have recently engineered a chimeric vaccine candidate (YF-ZIKprM/E) by swapping the sequences encoding the YFV-17D surface glycoproteins prM/E by the corresponding sequences of the ZIKV. A single vaccine dose of YF-ZIKprM/E conferred complete protection against a lethal challenge with wild-type ZIKV strains. Surprisingly, this vaccine candidate also efficiently protected against lethal YFV challenge in various mouse models. We demonstrate that CD8<sup>+</sup> but not CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells, nor ZIKV neutralizing antibodies are required to confer protection against YFV. The chimeric YF-ZIKprM/E vaccine may thus be considered as a dual vaccine candidate efficiently protecting mice against both the ZIKV and the YFV, and this following a single dose immunization. Our finding may be particularly important in the rational design of vaccination strategies against flaviviruses, in particular in areas where YFV and ZIKV co-circulate.
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) infection remains a serious health threat due to its close association with congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), which includes microcephaly and other severe birth defects. As no vaccines are available for human use, continuous effort is needed to develop effective and safe vaccines to prevent ZIKV infection. In this study, we constructed three recombinant proteins comprising, respectively, residues 296-406 (E296-406), 298-409 (E298-409), and 301-404 (E301-404) of ZIKV envelope (E) protein domain III (EDIII) fused with a C-terminal Fc of human IgG. Our results demonstrated that E298-409 induced the highest titer of neutralizing antibodies against infection with nine ZIKV strains isolated from different hosts, countries, and time periods, and it maintained long-term anti-ZIKV immunogenicity to induce neutralizing antibodies. Pups born to mice immunized with E298-409 were fully protected against lethal challenge with two epidemic human ZIKV strains, 2015/Honduras (R103451) and 2015/Colombia (FLR). Passive transfer of anti-E298-409 mouse sera protected pups born to naive mice, as well as type I interferon receptor-deficient adult A129 mice, from lethal challenge with human ZIKV strains R103451 and FLR, and this protection was positively correlated with neutralizing antibodies. These data suggest that the critical neutralizing fragment (i.e., a fragment that can induce highly potent neutralizing antibodies against divergent ZIKV strains) of ZIKV EDIII is a good candidate for development as an effective and safe ZIKV subunit vaccine to protect pregnant mothers and their fetuses against ZIKV infection. The E298-409-specific antibodies can be used for passive immunization to prevent ZIKV infection in newborns or immunocompromised adults.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection of the mother during pregnancy causes devastating Zika congenital syndrome in the offspring. A ZIKV vaccine with optimal safety and immunogenicity for use in pregnant women is critically needed. Toward this goal, we have developed a single-dose live-attenuated vaccine candidate that infects cells with controlled, limited infection rounds. The vaccine contains a 9-amino-acid deletion in the viral capsid protein and replicates to titers of > 106 focus-forming units (FFU)/mL in cells expressing the full-length capsid protein. Immunization of A129 mice with one dose (105 FFU) did not produce viremia, but elicited protective immunity that completely prevented viremia, morbidity, and mortality after challenge with an epidemic ZIKV strain (106 PFU). A single-dose vaccination also fully prevented infection of pregnant mice and maternal-to-fetal transmission. Intracranial injection of the vaccine (104 FFU) to 1-day-old mice did not cause any disease or death, underscoring the safety of this vaccine candidate.
Project description:Yellow fever virus (YFV) is a member of the Flaviviridae family. In Brazil, yellow fever (YF) cases have increased dramatically in sylvatic areas neighboring urban zones in the last few years. Because of the high lethality rates associated with infection and absence of any antiviral treatments, it is essential to identify therapeutic options to respond to YFV outbreaks. Repurposing of clinically approved drugs represents the fastest alternative to discover antivirals for public health emergencies. Other Flaviviruses, such as Zika (ZIKV) and dengue (DENV) viruses, are susceptible to sofosbuvir, a clinically approved drug against hepatitis C virus (HCV). Our data showed that sofosbuvir docks onto YFV RNA polymerase using conserved amino acid residues for nucleotide binding. This drug inhibited the replication of both vaccine and wild-type strains of YFV on human hepatoma cells, with EC50 values around 5 ?M. Sofosbuvir protected YFV-infected neonatal Swiss mice and adult type I interferon receptor knockout mice (A129-/-) from mortality and weight loss. Because of its safety profile in humans and significant antiviral effects in vitro and in mice, Sofosbuvir may represent a novel therapeutic option for the treatment of YF. Key-words: Yellow fever virus; Yellow fever, antiviral; sofosbuvir.
Project description:Recently, Zika virus (ZIKV) has attracted much attention in consideration of its association with severe neurological complications including fetal microcephaly. However, there are currently no prophylactic vaccines or therapeutic drugs approved for clinical treatments of ZIKV infection. To determine the potential anti-ZIKV inhibitors, we screened a library of clinical drugs with good safety profiles. Erythromycin estolate (Ery-Est), one of the macrolide antibiotics, was found to effectively inhibit ZIKV infection in different cell types and significantly protect A129 mice from ZIKV-associated neurological signs and mortality. Through further investigation, Ery-Est was verified to inhibit ZIKV entry by disrupting the integrity of the viral membrane which resulted in the loss of ZIKV infectivity. Furthermore, Ery-Est also showed inhibitory activity against dengue virus (DENV) and yellow fever virus (YFV). Thus, Ery-Est may be a promising drug for patients with ZIKV infection, particularly pregnant women.
Project description:The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne member of the <i>Flaviviridae</i> family of enveloped RNA viruses. The correlation between viral infection and fetal microcephaly was revealed in 2015, yet we still lack a vaccine against ZIKV. Here, we present a genetic vaccine that delivers the premembrane (prM) and envelope (E) genes of ZIKV using a recombinant baculovirus vector that expresses a human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) envelope on its surface to enhance gene delivery. We observed that baculoviruses with HERV envelopes (AcHERV) exhibited specifically higher gene transfer efficiency in human cells compared to the wild-type baculovirus vector. Using the AcHERV baculovirus vector, we constructed a recombinant baculovirus vaccine encoding ZIKV prM/E genes (AcHERV-ZIKV), which are major targets of neutralizing antibodies. Mice immunized twice with AcHERV-ZIKV exhibited high levels of IgG, neutralizing antibodies, and IFN-γ. In challenge tests in IFN knock-out mice (A129), AcHERV-ZIKV showed complete protection in both challenge and pregnancy tests. These results suggest that AcHERV-ZIKV could be a potential vaccine candidate for human application.
Project description:Current efforts to develop Zika virus (ZIKV) subunit vaccines have been focused on pre-membrane (prM) and envelope (E) proteins, but the role of NS1 in ZIKV-specific immune response and protection is poorly understood. Here, we develop an attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing ZIKV prM-E-NS1 as a polyprotein. This vectored vaccine candidate is attenuated in mice, where a single immunization induces ZIKV-specific antibody and T cell immune responses that provide protection against ZIKV challenge. Co-expression of prM, E, and NS1 induces significantly higher levels of Th2 and Th17 cytokine responses than prM-E. In addition, NS1 alone is capable of conferring partial protection against ZIKV infection in mice even though it does not induce neutralizing antibodies. These results demonstrate that attenuated rVSV co-expressing prM, E, and NS1 is a promising vaccine candidate for protection against ZIKV infection and highlights an important role for NS1 in ZIKV-specific cellular immune responses.
Project description:The epidemic spread of Zika virus (ZIKV), associated with devastating neurologic syndromes, has driven the development of multiple ZIKV vaccines candidates. An effective vaccine should induce ZIKV-specific T cell responses, which are shown to improve the establishment of humoral immunity and contribute to viral clearance. Here we investigated how previous immunization against Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and yellow fever virus (YFV) influences T cell responses elicited by a Zika purified-inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine. We demonstrate that three doses of ZPIV vaccine elicited robust CD4 T cell responses to ZIKV structural proteins, while ZIKV-specific CD4 T cells in pre-immunized individuals with JEV vaccine, but not YFV vaccine, were more durable and directed predominantly toward conserved epitopes, which elicited Th1 and Th2 cytokine production. In addition, T cell receptor repertoire analysis revealed preferential expansion of cross-reactive clonotypes between JEV and ZIKV, suggesting that pre-existing immunity against JEV may prime the establishment of stronger CD4 T cell responses to ZPIV vaccination. These CD4 T cell responses correlated with titers of ZIKV-neutralizing antibodies in the JEV pre-vaccinated group, but not in flavivirus-naïve or YFV pre-vaccinated individuals, suggesting a stronger contribution of CD4 T cells in the generation of neutralizing antibodies in the context of JEV-ZIKV cross-reactivity.
Project description:Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause congenital abnormities or fetal demise. The persistence of Zika virus in the male reproductive system poses a risk of sexual transmission. Here we demonstrate that live-attenuated Zika virus vaccine candidates containing deletions in the 3' untranslated region of the Zika virus genome (ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV) prevent viral transmission during pregnancy and testis damage in mice, as well as infection of nonhuman primates. After a single-dose vaccination, pregnant mice challenged with Zika virus at embryonic day 6 and evaluated at embryonic day 13 show markedly diminished levels of viral RNA in maternal, placental, and fetal tissues. Vaccinated male mice challenged with Zika virus were protected against testis infection, injury, and oligospermia. A single immunization of rhesus macaques elicited a rapid and robust antibody response, conferring complete protection upon challenge. Furthermore, the ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV vaccine candidates have a desirable safety profile. These results suggest that further development of ZIKV-3'UTR-LAV is warranted for humans.Zika virus infection can result in congenital disorders and cause disease in adults, and there is currently no approved vaccine. Here Shan et al. show that a single dose of a live-attenuated Zika vaccine prevents infection, testis damage and transmission to the fetus during pregnancy in different animal models.