Immunization of N terminus of enterovirus 71 VP4 elicits cross-protective antibody responses

Miao Zhao, Yu Bai, Wei Liu, Xiangqian Xiao, Yuming Huang, Shan Cen, Paul K S Chan, Xin Sun, Wang Sheng, Yi Zeng
BMC Microbiology 2013, 13: 287

BACKGROUND: Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is major cause of hand, foot and mouth disease. Large epidemics of EV71 infection have been recently reported in the Asian-Pacific region. Currently, no vaccine is available to prevent EV71 infection.

RESULTS: The peptide (VP4N20) consisting of the first 20 amino acids at the N-terminal of VP4 of EV71 genotype C4 were fused to hepatitis B core (HBcAg) protein. Expression of fusion proteins in E. coli resulted in the formation of chimeric virus-like particles (VLPs). Mice immunized with the chimeric VLPs elicited anti-VP4N20 antibody response. In vitro microneutralization experiments showed that anti-chimeric VLPs sera were able to neutralize not only EV71 of genotype C4 but also EV71 of genotype A. Neonatal mice model confirmed the neutralizing ability of anti-chimeric VLPs sera. Eiptope mapping led to the identification of a "core sequence" responsible for antibody recognition within the peptide.

CONCLUSIONS: Immunization of chimeric VLPs is able to elicit antibodies displaying a broad neutralizing activity against different genotypes of EV71 in vitro. The "core sequence" of EV71-VP4 is highly conserved across EV71 genotypes. The chimeric VLPs have a great potential to be a novel vaccine candidate with a broad cross-protection against different EV71 genotypes.

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