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Immunology. 2007 Dec;122(4):496-502. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Immune responses against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus induced by virus-like particles in mice.

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State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China.


Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a promising vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV). In this study, recombinant baculovirus vAcS and vAcME were constructed to express the S protein and the M and E proteins of SARS CoV, respectively. Electron microscope analysis demonstrated the formation of VLPs in vAcME and vAcS coinfected insect cells. Mice immunized four times with VLPs developed high antibody titres against SARS CoV. In addition, VLPs elicited cell-mediated immunity as demonstrated by enhanced interferon-gamma and interleukin-4 production. VLPs also conferred protective immunity against the infection of Spike protein pseudotyped murine leukaemia virus. Our findings demonstrate that SARS CoV VLPs are immunogenic and can elicit strong SARS CoV-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in mice. This is the first study describing the immunogenicity of SARS CoV VLPs, providing valuable data for developing a protective vaccine against SARS CoV infection.

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