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Antiviral Res. 2007 Feb;73(2):101-11. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Immunogenicity of a chimeric hepatitis A virus (HAV) carrying the HIV gp41 epitope 2F5.

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Institute of Medical Molecular Biology, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, D-23538 Lübeck, Germany.


Its stable particle structure combined with its high immunogenicity makes the hepatitis A virus (HAV) a perfect carrier to expose foreign epitopes to the host immune system. In an earlier report [Beneduce, F., Kusov, Y., Klinger, M., Gauss-Müller, V., Morace, G., 2002. Chimeric hepatitis A virus particles presenting a foreign epitope (HIV gp41) at their surface. Antiviral Res. 55, 369-377] chimeric virus-like particles (HAV-gp41) were described that carried at their surface the dominant gp41 epitope 2F5 (2F5e) of the human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1. Extending this work, we now report that chimeric virus HAV-gp41 replicates in HAV-susceptible cells as well as in non-human primates. Infected marmosets developed both an anti-HAV and anti-2F5 epitope immune response. Furthermore, an HIV-neutralizing antibody response was elicited in guinea pigs immunized with HAV-gp41 chimeric particles. The results demonstrate that the replication-competent chimeric HAV-gp41 can serve as either a live or a subunit vaccine for eliciting of antibodies directed against a foreign antigenic epitope.

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