3 years ago

Functionality and avidity of norovirus-specific antibodies and T cells induced by GII.4 virus-like particles alone or co-administered with different genotypes

Norovirus (NoV) is the main cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide across all age groups. Current NoV vaccine candidates are based on non-infectious highly immunogenic virus-like particles (VLPs) produced in cell cultures in vitro. As NoVs infecting human population are highly divergent, it is proposed that the vaccine should contain at least two different NoV genotypes, potentially affecting the immunogenicity of each other. We investigated the immunogenicity of NoV GII.4 VLPs administered by intramuscular (IM) or intradermal (ID) injections to BALB/c mice either alone or co-delivered with genogroup I (GI) and other genogroup GII VLPs. Serum NoV-specific IgG binding antibody titers and antibody functionality in terms of avidity and blocking potential were assessed. Furthermore, the specificity and functional avidity of CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses were analyzed using synthetic peptides previously identified to contain NoV VP1 P2 domain-specific H-2d epitopes. The results showed that IM and ID immunization induced comparable GII.4-specific antibodies and T cell responses. Similar magnitude and functionality of antibodies and interferon-gamma producing T cells were developed using monovalent GII.4 VLPs or different genotype combinations. For the first time, degranulation assay using multicolor flow cytometry showed that NoV GII.4-specific CD8+ T cells had cytotoxic T lymphocyte phenotype. To conclude, our results demonstrate that there is no immunological interference even if up to five different NoV VLP genotypes were co-administered at the same time. Furthermore, no inhibition of NoV-specific antibody functionality or the magnitude, specificity and affinity of T cell responses was observed in any of the immunized animals, observations relevant for the development of a multivalent NoV VLP vaccine.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0264410X17317474

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