Product(s) used in this publication: PepMix™ Peptide Pools
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a human alphaherpesvirus 3, elicits both chickenpox and shingles and/or postherpetic neuralgia. A live attenuated vaccine (LAV) and glycoprotein E (gE) subunit vaccine were developed to prevent VZV-induced diseases. We recently reported that single-strand RNA (ssRNA) based on the intergenic region of the internal ribosome entry site of cricket paralysis virus (CrPV) is an effective adjuvant for protein-based and virus-like particle-based vaccines. Here, Chinese hamster ovary expression system and an LAV from Oka/SK strains.
We appraised the adjuvant effect of the same CrPV ssRNA encoding the gE gene formulated in the two vaccines using VZV-primed C57BL/6 mice and guinea pigs. Humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and ELISPOT in gE subunit vaccine and by ELISA and fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen in LAV.
The gE subunit vaccine-induced gE-specific antibodies and CD4+ T-cell responses (indicated by interferon-γ [IFN-γ] and interleukin-2 secretion) in the ssRNA-based adjuvant containing the VZV gE gene. Therefore, an ssRNA adjuvant combined with gE antigen can trigger the innate immune response and induce an adaptive immune response to ultimately activate humoral and cell-mediated responses. VZV LAV could also induce VZV-specific antibodies and IFN-γ stimulated by LAV, whereas the effect of ssRNA as a vaccine adjuvant could not be confirmed. However, the ssRNA adjuvant increased VZV-specific neutralizing antibody response.
Taken together, these results highlight that the gE subunit vaccine and LAV developed in this study can be functional VZV vaccines, and ssRNAs appear to function better as adjuvants in a subunit vaccine than in an LAV.