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PLoS neglected tropical diseases

Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara expressing glycoprotein E2 of Chikungunya virus protects AG129 mice against lethal challenge.


PMID 25188230

Abstract

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection is characterized by rash, acute high fever, chills, headache, nausea, photophobia, vomiting, and severe polyarthralgia. There is evidence that arthralgia can persist for years and result in long-term discomfort. Neurologic disease with fatal outcome has been documented, although at low incidences. The CHIKV RNA genome encodes five structural proteins (C, E1, E2, E3 and 6K). The E1 spike protein drives the fusion process within the cytoplasm, while the E2 protein is believed to interact with cellular receptors and therefore most probably constitutes the target of neutralizing antibodies. We have constructed recombinant Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) expressing E3E2, 6KE1, or the entire CHIKV envelope polyprotein cassette E3E26KE1. MVA is an appropriate platform because of its demonstrated clinical safety and its suitability for expression of various heterologous proteins. After completing the immunization scheme, animals were challenged with CHIV-S27. Immunization of AG129 mice with MVAs expressing E2 or E3E26KE1 elicited neutralizing antibodies in all animals and provided 100% protection against lethal disease. In contrast, 75% of the animals immunized with 6KE1 were protected against lethal infection. In conclusion, MVA expressing the glycoprotein E2 of CHIKV represents as an immunogenic and effective candidate vaccine against CHIKV infections.