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Virology. 2009 May 10;387(2):303-12. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.02.045. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Chimeric calicivirus-like particles elicit protective anti-viral cytotoxic responses without adjuvant.

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Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal, UAB-IRTA, Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


We have analyzed the potential of virus-like particles (VLPs) from rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as a delivery system for foreign T cell epitopes. To accomplish this goal, we generated chimeric RHDV-VLPs incorporating a CD8(+) T cell epitope (SIINFEKL) derived from chicken ovalbumin (OVA). The OVA epitope was inserted in the capsid protein (VP60) of RHDV at two different locations: 1) the N-terminus, predicted to be facing to the inner core of the VLPs, and 2) a novel insertion site predicted to be located within an exposed loop. Both constructions correctly assembled into VLPs. In vitro, the chimeric VLPs activated dendritic cells for TNF-alpha secretion and they were processed and presented to specific T cells. In vivo, mice immunized with the chimeric VLPs without adjuvant were able to induce specific cellular responses mediated by cytotoxic and memory T cells. More importantly, immunization with chimeric VLPs was able to resolve an infection by a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing OVA protein.

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