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Wegmann F.,University of Oxford | Moghaddam A.E.,University of Oxford | Schiffner T.,University of Oxford | Gartlan K.H.,University of Oxford | And 6 more authors.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology | Year: 2015

The continued discovery and development of adjuvants for vaccine formulation are important to safely increase potency and/or reduce the antigen doses of existing vaccines and tailor the adaptive immune response to newly developed vaccines. Adjuplex is a novel adjuvant platform based on a purified lecithin and carbomer homopolymer. Here, we analyzed the adjuvant activity of Adjuplex in mice for the soluble hemagglutinin (HA) glycoprotein of influenza A virus. The titration of Adjuplex revealed an optimal dose of 1% for immunogenicity, eliciting high titers of HA-specific IgG but inducing no significant weight loss. At this dose, Adjuplex completely protected mice from an otherwise lethal influenza virus challenge and was at least as effective as the adjuvants monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL) and alum in preventing disease. Adjuplex elicited balanced Th1-/Th2-type immune responses with accompanying cytokines and triggered antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell proliferation. The use of the peritoneal inflammation model revealed that Adjuplex recruited dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes, and neutrophils in the context of innate cytokine and chemokine secretion. Adjuplex neither triggered classical maturation of DCs nor activated a pathogen recognition receptor (PRR)-expressing NF-κB reporter cell line, suggesting a mechanism of action different from that reported for classical pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP)-activated innate immunity. Taken together, these data reveal Adjuplex to be a potent and well-tolerated adjuvant with application for subunit vaccines. Copyright © 2015, Wegmann et al. Source

Ader-Ebert N.,University of Bern | Khosravi M.,University of Bern | Herren M.,University of Bern | Avila M.,University of Bern | And 7 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens | Year: 2015

Despite large vaccination campaigns, measles virus (MeV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) cause major morbidity and mortality in humans and animals, respectively. The MeV and CDV cell entry system relies on two interacting envelope glycoproteins: the attachment protein (H), consisting of stalk and head domains, co-operates with the fusion protein (F) to mediate membrane fusion. However, how receptor-binding by the H-protein leads to F-triggering is not fully understood. Here, we report that an anti-CDV-H monoclonal antibody (mAb-1347), which targets the linear H-stalk segment 126-133, potently inhibits membrane fusion without interfering with H receptor-binding or F-interaction. Rather, mAb-1347 blocked the F-triggering function of H-proteins regardless of the presence or absence of the head domains. Remarkably, mAb-1347 binding to headless CDV H, as well as standard and engineered bioactive stalk-elongated CDV H-constructs treated with cells expressing the SLAM receptor, was enhanced. Despite proper cell surface expression, fusion promotion by most H-stalk mutants harboring alanine substitutions in the 126-138 “spacer” section was substantially impaired, consistent with deficient receptor-induced mAb-1347 binding enhancement. However, a previously reported F-triggering defective H-I98A variant still exhibited the receptor-induced “head-stalk” rearrangement. Collectively, our data spotlight a distinct mechanism for morbillivirus membrane fusion activation: prior to receptor contact, at least one of the morbillivirus H-head domains interacts with the membrane-distal “spacer” domain in the H-stalk, leaving the F-binding site located further membrane-proximal in the stalk fully accessible. This “head-to-spacer” interaction conformationally stabilizes H in an auto-repressed state, which enables intracellular H-stalk/F engagement while preventing the inherent H-stalk’s bioactivity that may prematurely activate F. Receptor-contact disrupts the “head-to-spacer” interaction, which subsequently “unlocks” the stalk, allowing it to rearrange and trigger F. Overall, our study reveals essential mechanistic requirements governing the activation of the morbillivirus membrane fusion cascade and spotlights the H-stalk “spacer” microdomain as a possible drug target for antiviral therapy. Source

Widjojoatmodjo M.N.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Bogaert L.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Meek B.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Zahn R.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | And 6 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2015

RSV is an important cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children, the elderly and in those with underlying medical conditions. Although the high disease burden indicates an urgent need for a vaccine against RSV, no licensed RSV vaccine is currently available. We developed an RSV vaccine candidate based on the low-seroprevalent human adenovirus serotypes 26 and 35 (Ad26 and Ad35) encoding the RSV fusion (F) gene. Single immunization of mice with either one of these vectors induced high titers of RSV neutralizing antibodies and high levels of F specific interferon-gamma-producing T cells. A Th1-type immune response was indicated by a high IgG2a/IgG1 ratio of RSV-specific antibodies, strong induction of RSV-specific interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha cytokine producing CD8 Tcells, and low RSV-specific CD4 T-cell induction. Both humoral and cellular responses were increased upon a boost with RSV-F expressing heterologous adenovirus vector (Ad35 boost after Ad26 prime or vice versa). Both single immunization and prime-boost immunization of cotton rats induced high and long-lasting RSV neutralizing antibody titers and protective immunity against lung and nasal RSV A2 virus load up to at least 30 weeks after immunization. Cotton rats were also completely protected against challenge with a RSV B strain (B15/97) after heterologous prime-boost immunization. Lungs from vaccinated animals showed minimal damage or inflammatory infiltrates post-challenge, in contrast to animals vaccinated with formalin-inactivated virus. Our results suggest that recombinant human adenoviral Ad26 and Ad35 vectors encoding the RSV F gene have the potential to provide broad and durable protection against RSV in humans, and appear safe to be investigated in infants. © 2015 The Authors. Source

Krarup A.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Truan D.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Furmanova-Hollenstein P.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Bogaert L.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | And 6 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2015

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes acute lower respiratory tract infections and is the leading cause of infant hospitalizations. Recently, a promising vaccine antigen based on the RSV fusion protein (RSV F) stabilized in the native prefusion conformation has been described. Here we report alternative strategies to arrest RSV F in the prefusion conformation based on the prevention of hinge movements in the first refolding region and the elimination of proteolytic exposure of the fusion peptide. A limited number of unique mutations are identified that stabilize the prefusion conformation of RSV F and dramatically increase expression levels. This highly stable prefusion RSV F elicits neutralizing antibodies in cotton rats and induces complete protection against viral challenge. Moreover, the structural and biochemical analysis of the prefusion variants suggests a function for p27, the excised segment that precedes the fusion peptide in the polypeptide chain. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. Source

Langedijk J.P.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Furmanova-Hollenstein P.,Janssen Infectious Diseases and Vaccines | Kwanten L.,Respiratory Infections Research | Vranckx L.,Respiratory Infections Research | And 7 more authors.
Nature Chemical Biology | Year: 2016

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of pneumonia and bronchiolitis in young children and the elderly. Therapeutic small molecules have been developed that bind the RSV F glycoprotein and inhibit membrane fusion, yet their binding sites and molecular mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. Here we show that these inhibitors bind to a three-fold-symmetric pocket within the central cavity of the metastable prefusion conformation of RSV F. Inhibitor binding stabilizes this conformation by tethering two regions that must undergo a structural rearrangement to facilitate membrane fusion. Inhibitor-escape mutations occur in residues that directly contact the inhibitors or are involved in the conformational rearrangements required to accommodate inhibitor binding. Resistant viruses do not propagate as well as wild-type RSV in vitro, indicating a fitness cost for inhibitor escape. Collectively, these findings provide new insight into class I viral fusion proteins and should facilitate development of optimal RSV fusion inhibitors. © 2016 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Source

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