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Walpita P.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Barr J.,Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization | Sherman M.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Basler C.F.,Mount Sinai School of Medicine | Wang L.,Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Nipah virus (NiV) was first recognized in 1998 in a zoonotic disease outbreak associated with highly lethal febrile encephalitis in humans and a predominantly respiratory disease in pigs. Periodic deadly outbreaks, documentation of person-to-person transmission, and the potential of this virus as an agent of agroterror reinforce the need for effective means of therapy and prevention. In this report, we describe the vaccine potential of NiV virus-like particles (NiV VLPs) composed of three NiV proteins G, F and M. Co-expression of these proteins under optimized conditions resulted in quantifiable amounts of VLPs with many virus-like/vaccine desirable properties including some not previously described for VLPs of any paramyxovirus: The particles were fusogenic, inducing syncytia formation; PCR array analysis showed NiV VLP-induced activation of innate immune defense pathways; the surface structure of NiV VLPs imaged by cryoelectron microscopy was dense, ordered, and repetitive, and consistent with similarly derived structure of paramyxovirus measles virus. The VLPs were composed of all the three viral proteins as designed, and their intracellular processing also appeared similar to NiV virions. The size, morphology and surface composition of the VLPs were consistent with the parental virus, and importantly, they retained their antigenic potential. Finally, these particles, formulated without adjuvant, were able to induce neutralizing antibody response in Balb/c mice. These findings indicate vaccine potential of these particles and will be the basis for undertaking future protective efficacy studies in animal models of NiV disease. © 2011 Walpita et al. Source

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