Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection remains a serious public health problem worldwide. Treatments are limited, and no preventive vaccine is available. Toward developing an HCV vaccine, we engineered two recombinant measles viruses (MVs) expressing structural proteins from the prototypic HCV subtype 1a strain H77. One virus directs the synthesis of the HCV capsid (C) protein and envelope glycoproteins (E1 and E2), which fold properly and form a heterodimer. The other virus expresses the E1 and E2 glycoproteins separately, with each one fused to the cytoplasmic tail of the MV fusion protein. Although these hybrid glycoproteins were transported to the plasma membrane, they were not incorporated into MV particles. Immunization of MV-susceptible, genetically modified mice with either vector induced neutralizing antibodies to MV and HCV. A boost with soluble E2 protein enhanced titers of neutralizing antibody against the homologous HCV envelope. In animals primed with MV expressing properly folded HCV C-E1-E2, boosting also induced cross-neutralizating antibodies against two heterologous HCV strains. These results show that recombinant MVs retain the ability to induce MV-specific humoral immunity while also eliciting HCV neutralizing antibodies, and that anti-HCV immunity can be boosted with a single dose of purified E2 protein. The use of MV vectors could have advantages for pediatric HCV vaccination.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science