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Virology. 2007 Aug 1;364(2):422-30. Epub 2007 Apr 16.

Development of a low-cost, insect larvae-derived recombinant subunit vaccine against RHDV.

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1
Departamento de Biotecnología, INIA Autovía A6 Km 7.5, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

Vaccine antigens against rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) are currently derived from inactivated RHDV obtained from livers of experimentally infected rabbits. Several RHDV-derived recombinant immunogens have been reported. However, their application in vaccines has been restricted due to their high production costs. In this paper, we describe the development of an inexpensive, safe, stable vaccine antigen for RHDV. A baculovirus expressing a recombinant RHDV capsid protein (VP60r) was used to infect Trichoplusia ni insect larvae. It reached an expression efficiency of 12.5% of total soluble protein, i.e. approximately 2 mg of VP60r per larva. Preservation of the antigenicity and immunogenicity of the VP60r was confirmed by immunological and immunization experiments. Lyophilized crude larvae extracts, containing VP60r, were stable, at room temperature, for at least 800 days. In all cases, rabbits immunized with a single dose of VP60r by the intramuscular route were protected against RHDV challenge. Doses used were as low as 2 microg of VP60r in the presence of adjuvant or 100 microg without one. Orally administered VP60r in the absence of an adjuvant gave no protection. The potential costs of an RHDV vaccine made using this technology would be reduced considerably compared with producing the same protein in insect cells maintained by fermentation. In conclusion, the larva expression system may provide a broad-based strategy for production of recombinant subunit antigens (insectigens) for human or animal medicines, especially when production costs restrain their use.

PMID:
17434554
DOI:
10.1016/j.virol.2007.03.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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