Immunogenicity of hantavirus Dobrava nucleocapsid protein derivatives in mice
In Europe, the hantavirus Dobrava (DOBV) is carried by the yellow-necked mouse Apodemus flavicollis and causes "haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome" in humans. The nucleocapsid protein (N) is very immunogenic in infections of humans and rodents. Immunisation with N protein derivatives, like chimeric hepatitis B virus core (HBc) particles and entire recombinant N could protect rodents from a hantavirus infection. In this study, the immunogenicity of the two following derivatives based on the DOBV N protein was tested in mice. Chimeric HBV core particles, consisting of truncated HBc (HBcd) particles carrying part of the DOBV N (HBcdDOB120) were expressed in E. coli and the entire DOBV rN in yeast. Hence BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were immunised subcoutanously with both antigens. Mice of both strains elicited strong and longlived N-specific antibody responses after HBcdDOB120 as well as after DOBV rN immunisation. Both derivatives induced antibodies that were highly cross-reactive to the rN of the hantaviruses Puumala, Hantaan, Andes and Sin Nombre. HBcdDOB120 and DOBV rN induced N-specific antibodies of all IgG subclasses, suggesting a mixed Th1/Th2 immune response. In the same line, IFN-( and IL-4 was secreted by N-specific lymphocytes from mice immunised with HBcdDOB120 or DOBV rN after in vitro restimulation which also indicated a mixed Th1/Th2 response. However, the frequency of N-specific lymphocytes was low. In mice that exhibited a high HBc-specific antibody titer HBcdDOB120 also induced a strong N-specific immune response. HBcdDOB120 and DOBV rN represent promising vaccine candidates that should be tested for their protective potential in a DOBV challenge model as soon as one gets available. Additionally, as protection might be partially based on N-specific antibodies, their role in protecting against a hantavirus infection should be characterised further.
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School:Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Source Type:Master's Thesis
recombinant nucleocapsid protein
Date of Publication:12/14/2005