Zika virus (ZIKV) induces neurological and autoimmune complications such as microcephaly and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Effective vaccines are necessary to prevent the ZIKV infection. E protein of ZIKV is responsible for virus attachment, entry, and fusion. The domain III of E protein (EDIII) contains the neutralizing epitopes and is ideal to act as an antigen for ZIKV vaccine. However, EDIII is poorly immunogenic. CRM is a carrier protein and can activate T helper cells for EDIII. Mannan is a ligand of TLR-4 or TLR-2. Eight-arm PEG can link multiple EDIII molecules in one entity. In the present study, EDIII was covalently conjugated with CRM, 8-arm PEG and mannan to improve the immunogenicity of EDIII. The conjugate (CRM-EDIII-PM) elicited high EDIII-specific antibody titers in the BALB/c mice. Th1-type cytokines (IFN-γ and IL-2) and Th2-type cytokines (IL-5 and IL-10) were secreted at a marked level. Thus, CRM-EDIII-PM could stimulate potent humoral and cellular immune response to EDIII. The serum exposure of CRM-EDIII-PM to the immune system was prolonged. Moreover, CRM-EDIII-PM did not lead to apparent toxicity to the organs. Therefore, CRM-EDIII-PM was expected as a promising vaccine candidate for its ability to induce strong immune responses.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.