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Open Access Research

Heterosubtypic protective immunity against widely divergent influenza subtypes induced by fusion protein 4sM2 in BALB/c mice

Mohammed YE Chowdhury12, Soo-Kyung Seo1, Ho-Jin Moon13, Melbourne R Talactac1, Jae-Hoon Kim1, Min-Eun Park1, Hwa-Young Son1, Jong-Soo Lee1* and Chul-Joong Kim1*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine (BK21 Plus Program), Chungnam National University, Daejeon 305-764, Republic of Korea

2 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Chittagong 4202, Bangladesh

3 Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:21  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-21

Published: 6 February 2014

Abstract

Background

Regular reformulation of currently available vaccines is necessary due to the unpredictable variability of influenza viruses. Therefore, vaccine based on a highly conserved antigen with capability of induction of effective immune responses could be a potential solution. Influenza matrix protein-2 (M2) is highly conserved across influenza subtypes and a promising candidate for a broadly protective influenza vaccine. For the enhancement of broad protection, four tandem copies of consensus M2 gene containing extracellular (ED) and cytoplasmic (CD) without the trans-membrane domain (TM) reconstituted from H1N1, H5N1 and H9N2 influenza viruses were linked and named as 4sM2. The construct was effectively expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and proteins were used to immunize BALB/c mice. Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses were investigated following administration.

Results

Mice were intramuscularly immunized with 4sM2 protein 2 times at 2 weeks interval. Two weeks after the last immunization, first humoral and cell mediated immune response specific to sM2 protein were evaluated and the mice were challenged with a lethal dose (10MLD50) of divergent subtypes A/EM/Korea/W149/06(H5N1), A/PR/8/34(H1N1), A/Aquatic bird/Korea/W81/2005(H5N2), A/Aquatic bird/Korea/W44/2005(H7N3), and A/Chicken/Korea/116/2004(H9N2) viruses. The efficacy of 4sM2 was evaluated by determining survival rates, body weights and residual lung viral titers. Our studies demonstrate that the survival of mice immunized with 4sM2 was significantly higher (80–100% survival) than that of unimmunized mice (0% survival). We also examined the long lasting protection against heterosubtype H5N2 virus and found that mice vaccinated with 4sM2 displayed 80% of protection even after 6 months of final vaccination.

Conclusion

Taken together, these results suggest that prokaryotic expressed multimeric sM2 protein achieved cross protection against lethal infection of divergent influenza subtypes which are lasting for the long time.

Keywords:
Broad protection; Humoral immunization; Influenza vaccine; Matrix protein-2