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Immunology. 2012 Jan;135(1):89-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2011.03516.x.

A comparison of immunogenicity of norovirus GII-4 virus-like particles and P-particles.

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Vaccine Research Centre, University of Tampere Medical School, Biokatu, Finland.


Norovirus (NoV) -derived virus-like particles (VLPs) resemble empty shells of the virus and NoV P-particles contain only protruding domains of the NoV capsid. Both NoV-derived subviral particles show similar functionality and antigenicity in vitro and are considered to be potential vaccine candidates against NoV gastroenteritis. BALB/c mice were immunized with baculovirus-produced GII-4 VLPs or the corresponding Escherichia coli-produced P-particles by the intramuscular or intradermal route and the NoV-specific antibody and T-cell immune responses were compared. Elevated antibody levels were induced with a single VLP immunization, whereas P-particle immunization required a boost. High avidity antibodies were raised only by VLP immunization. VLP immunization resulted in a balanced T helper type 1/type 2 immune response whereas P-particles induced a T helper type 2-biased response. Only VLP immunization primed T cells for interferon-γ production. Most importantly, cross-reactive B and T cells were induced solely by VLP immunization. In addition, VLP antiserum blocked the binding of heterotypic VLPs to human histo-blood group antigen receptor and saliva. The findings in this study are relevant for the development of NoV vaccines.

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