ABSTRACT: The recent emergence of multiple avian influenza A subtypes that cause human disease (i.e., H5N1, H9N2 and H7N7), coupled with the fear that one of these strains might precipitate a new pandemic, underscores the need to develop new technological approaches to immunization which elicit protective immune responses against multiple subtypes of influenza A. In response to this demand, several matrix 2 protein ectodomain segments (M2eA) corresponding to the H1N1, H5N1 and H9N2 influenza strains were formulated using a novel liposome-based vaccine technology and evaluated as potential immunogens for developing a "universal" influenza vaccine. Mice immunized with liposomal M2eA survived homologous challenges with H1N1 (100% survival) or H9N2 (80% survival) influenza strains. There were significant reductions in their lung viral load as well as in immunized mice challenged with the H5N1 subtype. The mice vaccinated with an M2eA segment corresponding to the H1N1 and H6N2 (a reassortant influenza A virus carrying the M2eA from PR8/34) strains elicited elevated IgG ELISA antibody titers to this M2eA epitope segment and antiserum from these immunized mice provided passive protection (100% survival) to naïve mice receiving a lethal dose of H6N2 influenza virus. These results provide the first evidence that recombinant M2eA epitopes to multiple subtypes elicited immune protection against a homologous challenge and provides further evidence in favor of the development of a "universal" influenza vaccine based on M2eA.
Vaccine 07/2006; 24(24):5158-68. · 3.77 Impact Factor