ABSTRACT: The potential threat of smallpox use in a bioterrorist attack has heightened the need to develop an effective smallpox vaccine for immunization of the general public. Vaccination with the current smallpox vaccine, Dryvax, produces protective immunity but may result in adverse reactions for some vaccinees. A subunit vaccine composed of protective vaccinia virus proteins should avoid the complications arising from live-virus vaccination and thus provide a safer alternative smallpox vaccine. In this study, we assessed the protective efficacy and immunogenicity of a multisubunit vaccine composed of the A27L and D8L proteins from the intracellular mature virus (IMV) form and the B5R protein from the extracellular enveloped virus (EEV) form of vaccinia virus. BALB/c mice were immunized with Escherichia coli-produced A27L, D8L, and B5R proteins in an adjuvant consisting of monophosphoryl lipid A and trehalose dicorynomycolate or in TiterMax Gold adjuvant. Following immunization, mice were either sacrificed for analysis of immune responses or lethally challenged by intranasal inoculation with vaccinia virus strain Western Reserve. We observed that three immunizations either with A27L, D8L, and B5R or with the A27L and B5R proteins alone induced potent neutralizing antibody responses and provided complete protection against lethal vaccinia virus challenge. Several linear B-cell epitopes within the three proteins were recognized by sera from the immunized mice. In addition, protein-specific cellular responses were detected in spleens of immunized mice by a gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot assay using peptides derived from each protein. Our data suggest that a subunit vaccine incorporating bacterially expressed IMV- and EEV-specific proteins can be effective in stimulating anti-vaccinia virus immune responses and providing protection against lethal virus challenge.
Journal of Virology 05/2008; 82(7):3517-29. · 5.40 Impact Factor