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Vaccine. 2009 Aug 13;27(37):5069-76. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2009.06.045. Epub 2009 Jun 27.

Plant-produced potato virus X chimeric particles displaying an influenza virus-derived peptide activate specific CD8+ T cells in mice.

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  • 1ENEA C.R. Casaccia, Roma, Italy.


Plant viruses can be genetically modified to produce chimeric virus particles (CVPs) carrying heterologous peptides. The efficacy of plant-produced CVPs in inducing antibody responses specific to the displayed peptide has been extensively demonstrated. To determine if plants can be used to produce CVPs able to activate peptide-specific major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted CD8+ T cells, potato virus X (PVX) has been engineered to display the H-2D(b)-restricted epitope ASNENMETM of influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP). Engineering criteria were devised to comply not only with plant virus genetic stability and infectivity but also with antigen processing rules. The immunological properties of different doses of endotoxin-free preparations of CVPs or unmodified PVX have been evaluated by s.c. immunizing C57BL/6J mice and testing at different time intervals splenocyte responses by interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay. These experiments demonstrated that CVPs activate ASNENMTEM-specific CD8+ T cells. Remarkably, the best response was achieved without adjuvant co-delivery. These results represent the proof of concept that well-designed plant virus carriers of epitopes produced in plant can reasonably be used into peptide vaccine formulations aimed to activate cell-mediated immune responses.

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