Plant-produced potato virus X chimeric particles displaying an influenza virus-derived peptide activate specific CD8+ T cells in mice
Chiara Lico, Camillo Mancini, Paola Italiani, Camilla Betti, Diana Boraschi, Eugenio Benvenuto, Selene Baschieri
Vaccine (2009) 27: 5069 – 5076
The authors used plant Potexvirus Potato virus X (PVX) to display the Db-restricted nonapeptide ASNENMETM of the nucleoprotein (NP) from influenza A virus (strain A/PR/8/34) to activate specific CD8+ T cells in mice. They paid great attention to the design of the NP-peptide to ensure optimum plant virus stability and antigen processing. The modified NP-peptide was fused to the N-terminal of the coat protein (CP) from PVX creating the pVXSma-NP construct that was subsequently inoculated into tobacco leaves. The resulting chimeric virus particles (NP-CVP) were stable and pure with a yield of approximately 1.1 mg NP-CVP / g fresh leaf tissue. Endotoxin tests were also performed to exclude their contribution to the immunoregulatory effects of the CVPs. Mice were inoculated with two different doses of NP-CVP (50 µg or 167 µg) with or without incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA). The IFN-γ ELISPOT assays indicated that NP-CVPs activated the ASNENMETM-specific CD8+ response, especially the highest concentration of the NP-CVP without the adjuvant. Results also indicated that the CP of PVX contained T helper epitopes that contributed to the CD8+ T cell response. Thus, PVX is not only an epitope carrier but an adjuvant as well. This study illustrates the potential of implementing plant viruses displaying foreign epitopes to elicit T cell responses in vaccine development.
Contributed by Dr Elizabeth (Liezl) Mortimer