[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dengue virus (DENV) is an enveloped RNA virus that causes the most common arthropod-borne infection worldwide. The mechanism by which DENV infects the host cell remains unclear. In this work, we used live-cell imaging and single-virus tracking to investigate the cell entry, endocytic trafficking, and fusion behavior of DENV. Simultaneous tracking of DENV particles and various endocytic markers revealed that DENV enters cells exclusively via clathrin-mediated endocytosis. The virus particles move along the cell surface in a diffusive manner before being captured by a pre-existing clathrin-coated pit. Upon clathrin-mediated entry, DENV particles are transported to Rab5-positive endosomes, which subsequently mature into late endosomes through acquisition of Rab7 and loss of Rab5. Fusion of the viral membrane with the endosomal membrane was primarily detected in late endosomal compartments.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To enhance the efficacy of a therapeutic immunisation strategy against human papillomavirus-induced cervical cancer we evaluated the adjuvant effect of interleukin-12 (IL12) expressed by a Semliki Forest virus vector (SFV) in mice. Depending on the dose and schedule, SFV-IL12 stimulated antigen-specific CTL responses elicited upon immunisation with recombinant SFV expressing HPV16-E6E7 (SFVeE6,7). SFVeE6,7–CTL and anti-tumour activity were enhanced by a low dose of SFV-IL12 to the prime immunisation. Using higher dosages these activities were reduced. Addition of SFV-IL12 to the booster immunisation further reduced the efficacy of the SFVeE6,7 immunisation. In transgenic mice, tolerant for HPV16-E6E7, SFV-IL12 also stimulated SFVeE6,7-induced CTL responses. In conclusion, SFV-IL12 can enhance antigen-specific immune responses. Yet, prudence is called for when considering co-administration of SFV-IL12 to a vaccine, as the enhancement of cell-mediated immune responses greatly depends on dosage and schedule.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza virosomes are virus-like particles, which retain the cell binding and membrane fusion properties of the native virus, but lack the viral genetic material. These functional characteristics of influenza virosomes form the basis for their immunogenicity. First, the repetitive arrangement of the major viral envelope glycoprotein, haemagglutinin, on the virosomal surface mediates a co-operative interaction with Ig receptors on B lymphocytes, stimulating strong antibody responses. In addition, virosomes interact efficiently with antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells, resulting in activation of T lymphocytes and induction of a balanced Th1/Th2 response. Also, as a result of fusion of the virosomes with the endosomal membrane, virosome-encapsulated antigens gain access to the MHC class I presentation pathway, thus priming cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity. Finally, virosomes represent an excellent platform for inclusion of lipophilic adjuvants for further improvement of the quality and quantity of virosome-induced immune responses.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract In this study we investigated whether intact plasmid DNA can be efficiently encapsulated in anionic liposomes prepared by freeze/thaw and extrusion techniques. There is controversy about this method of DNA encapsulation, especially as to whether DNA remains intact and retains its biological activity during extrusion. A solution containing supercoiled plasmid pCMVβ (7164 base pairs) was added to dry lipid films, and after freezing and thawing, the suspension was extruded through a filter with 0.2 μm pores. About 20% of the DNA became encapsulated, as evidenced by protection from degradation by endonuclease added externally. Plasmid isolated from the liposomes was structurally intact, and had essentially the same transfection activity as untreated DNA. These results show that plasmid DNA can be reliably and efficiently encapsulated in anionic liposomes by freeze/thaw and extrusion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract This paper presents a survey of the properties and applications of reconstituted influenza virus envelopes (virosomes). Influenza virosomes can be reconstituted from the original viral membrane lipids and spike glycoproteins, after solubilization of intact virus with octaethyleneglycol monododecyl ether (C12E8) and removal of this detergent with a hydrophobic resin (BioBeads SM-2). These virosomes are functionally active, i.e their membrane fusion activity closely mimics the well-defined low-pH-dependent membrane fusion activity of the intact virus, which is solely mediated by the viral hemagglutinin (HA). By virtue of their fusion activity, virosomes represent a powerful carrier system for cellular delivery of foreign substances, encapsulated in their aqueous interior or co-reconstituted in their membranes. Delivery of an encapsulated, water-soluble, compound is illustrated with data on the toxin gelonin. Protein synthesis in BHK-21 cells in culture is efficiently inhibited when gelonin-containing virosomes fuse from within endosomes, after internalization via receptor-mediated endocytosis, or are induced to fuse with the plasma membrane by a transient lowering of the pH in the medium. The results indicate that delivery is quite efficient; as much as 6 × 103 molecules of gelonin can readily be delivered to the cytoplasm of a single cell by fusion with gelonin-containing virosomes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the case of an influenza pandemic, the current global influenza vaccine production capacity will be unable to meet the demand for billions of vaccine doses. The ongoing threat of an H5N1 pandemic therefore urges the development of highly immunogenic, dose-sparing vaccine formulations. In unprimed individuals, inactivated whole virus (WIV) vaccines are more immunogenic and induce protective antibody responses at a lower antigen dose than other formulations like split virus (SV) or subunit (SU) vaccines. The reason for this discrepancy in immunogenicity is a long-standing enigma. Here, we show that stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) of the innate immune system, in particular stimulation of TLR7, by H5N1 WIV vaccine is the prime determinant of the greater magnitude and Th1 polarization of the WIV-induced immune response, as compared to SV- or SU-induced responses. This TLR dependency largely explains the relative loss of immunogenicity in SV and SU vaccines. The natural pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) recognized by TLR7 is viral genomic ssRNA. Processing of whole virus particles into SV or SU vaccines destroys the integrity of the viral particle and leaves the viral RNA prone to degradation or involves its active removal. Our results show for a classic vaccine that the acquired immune response evoked by vaccination can be enhanced and steered by the innate immune system, which is triggered by interaction of an intrinsic vaccine component with a pattern recognition receptor (PRR). The insights presented here may be used to further improve the immune-stimulatory and dose-sparing properties of classic influenza vaccine formulations such as WIV, and will facilitate the development of new, even more powerful vaccines to face the next influenza pandemic.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Clinical trials with pandemic influenza vaccine candidates have focused on aluminium hydroxide as an adjuvant to boost humoral immune responses. In this study we investigated the effect of aluminium hydroxide on the magnitude and type of immune response induced by whole-inactivated virus (WIV) vaccine. Balb/c mice were immunized once with a range of antigen doses (0.04-5 microg) of WIV produced from A/PR/8 virus, either alone or in combination with aluminium hydroxide. The hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers of mice receiving WIV+aluminium hydroxide were 4-16-fold higher than HI titers in mice receiving the same dose of WIV alone, indicating the boosting effect of aluminium hydroxide. WIV induced a TH1 skewed humoral and cellular immune response, characterized by strong influenza-specific IgG2a responses and a high number of IFNgamma-secreting T cells. In contrast, immunization with WIV adsorbed to aluminium hydroxide resulted in skewing of this response to a TH2 phenotype (high IgG1 levels and a low number of IFNgamma-producing T cells). To assess the effect of the observed immune response skewing on viral clearance from the lungs mice immunized once with 1 microg WIV without or with aluminium hydroxide were challenged with A/PR/8 virus 4 weeks later. The immunized mice showed a significant decrease in viral lung titers compared to control mice receiving buffer. However, despite higher antibody titers, mice immunized with WIV adsorbed to aluminium hydroxide suffered from more severe weight loss and had significantly higher virus loads in their lung tissue than mice receiving WIV alone. Major difference between these groups of mice was the type of immune response induced, TH2 instead of TH1, indicating that a TH1 response plays a major role in viral clearance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein antigens encapsulated in virosomes generated from influenza virus can induce antigen-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. In the present study we determined, in a murine model system, whether pre-existing immunity against influenza virus hampers the induction of a CTL response. CTL induction was only slightly reduced by pre-injection of influenza virus-specific antibodies or pre-exposure to influenza virus. Both pretreatments resulted in the same level of reduction, suggesting that virus-specific antibodies rather than T cell responses account for the reduction. Furthermore, a booster immunization enhanced CTL activation, indicating that virosome-specific immunity induced by a prime immunization does not hamper the booster effect. In conclusion, CTL induction against virosome-encapsulated protein antigens is not significantly inhibited by pre-existing humoral or cellular immunity against influenza virus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: For protection against (re-)infection by influenza virus not only the magnitude of the immune response but also its quality in terms of antibody subclass and T helper profile is important. Information about the type of immune response elicited by vaccination is therefore urgently needed.
The aim of the study was to evaluate in detail the immune response elicited by three current influenza vaccine formulations and to shed light on vaccine characteristics which determine this response.
Mice were immunized with whole inactivated virus (WIV), virosomes (VS) or subunit vaccine (SU). Following subsequent infection with live virus, serum antibody titers and Th cell responses were measured. The effects of the vaccines on cytokine production by conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells were investigated in vitro.
In Balb/c mice (Th2 prone) as well as in C57Bl/6 mice (Th1 prone), WIV induced consistently higher hemagglutination-inhibition titers and virus-neutralizing antibody titers than VS or SU. In contrast to VS and SU, WIV stimulated the production of the antibody subclasses IgG2a (Balb/c) and IgG2c (C57BL/6), considered to be particularly important for viral clearance, and activation of IFN-gamma-producing T cells. Similar to live virus, WIV stimulated the production of proinflammatory cytokines by conventional dendritic cells and IFN-alpha by plasmacytoid cells, while VS and SU had little effect on cytokine synthesis by either cell type. We conclude that vaccination with WIV in contrast to VS or SU results in the desired Th1 response presumably by induction of type I interferon and other proinflammatory cytokines.
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 04/2008; 2(2):41-51. · 1.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated the cell entry characteristics of dengue virus (DENV) type 2 strain S1 on mosquito, BHK-15, and BS-C-1 cells. The concentration of virus particles measured by biochemical assays was found to be substantially higher than the number of infectious particles determined by infectivity assays, leading to an infectious unit-to-particle ratio of approximately 1:2,600 to 1:72,000, depending on the specific assays used. In order to explain this high ratio, we investigated the receptor binding and membrane fusion characteristics of single DENV particles in living cells using real-time fluorescence microscopy. For this purpose, DENV was labeled with the lipophilic fluorescent probe DiD (1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindodicarbocyanine, 4-chlorobenzenesulfonate salt). The surface density of the DiD dye in the viral membrane was sufficiently high to largely quench the fluorescence intensity but still allowed clear detection of single virus particles. Fusion of the viral membrane with the cell membrane was evident as fluorescence dequenching. It was observed that DENV binds very inefficiently to the cells used, explaining at least in part the high infectious unit-to-particle ratio. The particles that did bind to the cells showed different types of transport behavior leading to membrane fusion in both the periphery and perinuclear regions of the cell. Membrane fusion was observed in 1 out of 6 bound virus particles, indicating that a substantial fraction of the virus has the capacity to fuse. DiD dequenching was completely inhibited by ammonium chloride, demonstrating that fusion occurs exclusively from within acidic endosomes.
Journal of Virology 12/2007; 81(21):12019-28. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza virosomes are reconstituted influenza virus envelopes that may be used as vaccines or as carrier systems for cellular delivery of therapeutic molecules. Here we present a procedure to generate influenza virosomes as a stable dry-powder formulation by freeze-drying (lyophilization) using an amorphous inulin matrix as a stabilizer. In the presence of inulin the structural integrity and fusogenic activity of virosomes were fully preserved during freeze-drying. For example, the immunological properties of the virosomes, i.e. the HA potency in vitro and the immunogenic potential in vivo, were maintained during lyophilization in the presence of inulin. In addition, compared to virosomes dispersed in buffer, inulin-formulated virosomes showed substantially prolonged preservation of the HA potency upon storage. Also the capacity of virosomes to mediate cellular delivery of macromolecules was maintained during lyophilization in the presence of inulin and upon subsequent storage. Specifically, when dispersed in buffer, virosomes with encapsulated plasmid DNA lost their transfection activity completely within 6 weeks, whereas their transfection activity was fully preserved for at least 12 weeks after incorporation in an inulin matrix. Thus, in the presence of inulin as a stabilizing agent, the shelf-life of influenza virosomes with and without encapsulated macromolecules was considerably prolonged. Formulation of influenza virosomes as a dry-powder is advantageous for storage and transport and offers the possibility to develop needle-free dosage forms, e.g. for oral, nasal, pulmonal, or dermal delivery.
European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 10/2007; 32(1):33-44. · 2.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Reconstituted influenza virosomes (virus membrane envelopes) have been used previously to deliver pDNA (plasmid DNA) bound to their external surface to a variety of target cells. Although high transfection efficiencies can be obtained with these complexes in vitro, the virosome-associated DNA is readily accessible to nucleases and could therefore be prone to rapid degradation under in vivo conditions. In the present study, we show a new method for the production of DNA-virosomes resulting in complete protection of the DNA from nucleases. This method relies on the use of the short-chain phospholipid DCPC (dicaproylphosphatidylcholine) for solubilization of the viral membrane. The solubilized viral membrane components are mixed with pDNA and cationic lipid. Reconstitution of the viral envelopes and simultaneous encapsulation of pDNA is achieved by removal of the DCPC from the mixture through dialysis. Analysis by linear sucrose density-gradient centrifugation revealed that protein, phospholipid and pDNA physically associated to particles, which appeared as vesicles with spike proteins inserted in their membranes when analysed by electron microscopy. The DNA-virosomes retained the membrane fusion properties of the native influenza virus. The virosome-associated pDNA was completely protected from degradation by nucleases, providing evidence for the DNA being highly condensed and encapsulated in the lumen of the virosomes. DNA-virosomes, containing reporter gene constructs, transfected a variety of cell lines, with efficiencies approaching 90%. Transfection was completely dependent on the fusogenic properties of the viral spike protein haemagglutinin. Thus, DNA-virosomes prepared by the new procedure are highly efficient vehicles for DNA delivery, offering the advantage of complete DNA protection, which is especially important for future in vivo applications.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA interference is expected to have considerable potential for the development of novel specific therapeutic strategies. However, successful application of RNA interference in vivo will depend on the availability of efficient delivery systems for the introduction of small-interfering RNA (siRNA) into the appropriate target cells. This paper focuses on the use of reconstituted viral envelopes ("virosomes"), derived from influenza virus, as a carrier system for cellular delivery of siRNA. Complexed to cationic lipid, siRNA molecules could be efficiently encapsulated in influenza virosomes. Delivery to cultured cells was assessed on the basis of flow cytometry analysis using fluorescently labeled siRNA. Virosome-encapsulated siRNA directed against Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) inhibited GFP fluorescence in cells transfected with a plasmid encoding GFP or in cells constitutively expressing GFP. Delivery of siRNA was dependent on the low-pH-induced membrane fusion activity of the virosomal hemagglutinin, supporting the notion that virosomes introduce their encapsulated siRNA into the cell cytosol through fusion of the virosomal membrane with the limiting membrane of cellular endosomes, after internalization of the virosomes by receptor-mediated endocytosis. It is concluded that virosomes represent a promising carrier system for cellular delivery of siRNA in vitro as well as in vivo.
Journal of Liposome Research 02/2007; 17(1):39-47. · 1.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virosomes derived from influenza virus are reconstituted viral envelopes, which retain the receptor-binding and cell entry properties of the native virus, but lack the viral genetic material. These virosomes are of interest because of their potential use as vaccines or cellular delivery systems. However, in aqueous dispersion influenza virosomes have a relatively poor stability. Although freeze-drying of the virosomes could improve their stability, a lyoprotectant is required to preserve the structure and function of the virosomes during the lyophilization process as well as during subsequent storage of the dry powder formulation. In this study, inulin, a medium-chain oligosaccharide, was identified as an effective stabilizer of influenza virosomes. When inulin was added to an aqueous virosomal dispersion, the vesicular structure of the virosomes, with spike proteins protruding from the virosomal surface, as well as their membrane fusion activity were completely preserved during freeze-drying. When the freeze-drying process was performed from dispersions lacking a lyoprotectant, both structure and fusogenic properties of the virosomes were lost. Moreover, it was shown that the immunogenicity of inulin-stabilized virosomes was preserved. For example, dry powder formulations of virosomes retained HA potency for at least 12 weeks at 20 degrees C. Virosomes with encapsulated pDNA encoding for the eGFP reporter gene were also found to be stabilized by inulin. The fusion capacity and the transfection efficacy (determined in BHK-21 cells) could be preserved for 12 weeks during storage at 4 degrees C. It is concluded that freeze-drying in the presence of inulin as a lyoprotectant completely preserves the structure and function of influenza virosomes.
Journal of Liposome Research 02/2007; 17(3-4):173-82. · 1.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Virosomes are reconstituted viral envelopes that can serve as vaccines and as vehicles for cellular delivery of various macromolecules. To further advance the use of virosomes, we developed a novel dialysis procedure for the reconstitution of influenza virus membranes that is easily applicable to industrial production and compatible with encapsulation of a variety of compounds. This procedure relies on the use of 1,2-dicaproyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DCPC) as a solubilizing agent. DCPC is a short-chain lecithin with detergent-like properties and with a critical micelle concentration of 14 mM. DCPC effectively dissolved the influenza virus membranes after which the nucleocapsids could be removed by ultracentrifugation. The solubilized membrane components were reconstituted either by removal of DCPC by dialysis or by a procedure involving initial dilution of the solubilized membrane components followed by dialysis. Both protocols resulted in removal of 99.9% of DCPC and simultaneous formation of virosomes. Analysis of the virosome preparations by equilibrium sucrose density gradient centrifugation revealed co-migration of phospholipid and protein for virosomes produced by either method. Moreover, both virosome preparations showed morphological and fusogenic characteristics similar to native influenza virus. Size, homogeneity and spike density of the virosomes varied with the two different reconstitution procedures employed. The recovery of viral membrane proteins and phospholipids in the virosomes was found to be higher for the dilution/dialysis procedure than for the simple dialysis protocol. This novel procedure for the production of virosomes is straightforward and robust and allows further exploitation of virosomes as vaccines or as drug delivery vehicles not only in academia, but also in industrial settings.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2006; 1758(4):527-36. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vectors derived from alphaviruses are gaining interest for their high transfection potency and strong immunogenicity.
After a brief introduction on alphaviruses and their vectors, an overview is given on current preclinical immunotherapy studies using vector systems based on alphaviruses. The efficacy of alphavirus vectors in inducing immune responses will be illustrated by a more detailed description of immunization studies using recombinant Semliki Forest virus for the treatment of human papilloma virus-induced cervical cancer.
Immunization with recombinant alphavirus results in the induction of humoral and cellular immune responses against microbes, infected cells and cancer cells. Preclinical studies demonstrate that infectious diseases and cancer can be treated prophylactically as well as therapeutically.
Alphavirus-based genetic immunization strategies are highly effective in animal model systems, comparing quite favourably with any other approach. Therefore, we hope and expect to see an efficient induction of tumour-or microbial immunity and a positive outcome in future clinical efficacy studies.
Journal of Clinical Virology 04/2006; 35(3):233-43. · 3.29 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we demonstrate that fusion-active virosomes, containing recombinant human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) E7 protein antigen, are capable of inducing a robust class I MHC-restricted cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response against HPV-transformed tumour cells in a murine model system. Virosomes are reconstituted viral envelopes, which do not contain the genetic material of the native virus. During the reconstitution process, protein antigens can be encapsulated within the virosomes. In the present study, we used virosomes derived from influenza virus. These virosomes retain the cell binding and membrane fusion characteristics of native influenza virus, and have the capacity to deliver encapsulated antigens to the cytosol of antigen-presenting cells through fusion from within acidic endosomes. After immunization of mice with virosomes containing encapsulated HPV16 E7 protein, the animals developed a strong E7-specific CTL response as assessed by 51Cr release measurements and MHC tetramer staining of spleen cells. Immunization with E7-containing virosomes also resulted in E7-specific antibody responses. In tumour challenge experiments, immunization of mice with E7-containing virosomes prevented tumour outgrowth in >70% of the animals. Thus, influenza-derived virosomes with encapsulated HPV E7 protein antigen act as an excellent vaccine delivery system for induction of cellular immunity against HPV-transformed cells and represent a promising immunotherapeutic vaccine for the treatment of (precursor lesions of) cervical cancer.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is a need for more efficacious inactivated influenza vaccines, since current formulations show suboptimal immunogenicity in at-risk populations, like the elderly. More effective vaccines are also urgently needed for an improved influenza pandemic preparedness. In this context, there is considerable interest in virosomes. Virosomes are virus-like particles, consisting of reconstituted influenza virus envelopes, lacking the genetic material of the native virus. Virosomes are produced from influenza virus through a detergent solubilization and removal procedure. Properly reconstituted virosomes retain the cell binding and membrane fusion properties of the native virus, mediated by the viral envelope glycoprotein haemagglutinin. These functional characteristics of virosomes form the basis for their enhanced immunogenicity. First, the repetitive arrangement of haemagglutinin molecules on the virosomal surface mediates a cooperative interaction of the antigen with Ig receptors on B lymphocytes, stimulating strong antibody responses. In addition, virosomes interact efficiently with antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells, resulting in activation of T lymphocytes. In a murine model system, virosomes, as compared to conventional subunit vaccine, which consists of isolated influenza envelope glycoproteins, induce a more balanced T helper 1 versus T helper 2 response, virosomes in particular eliciting stronger T helper 1 responses than subunit vaccine. Also, as a result of fusion of the virosomes with the endosomal membrane, part of the virosomal antigen gains access to the major histocompatibility class I presentation pathway, thus priming cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity. Finally, virosomes represent an excellent platform for inclusion of lipophilic adjuvants for further stimulation of vaccine immunogenicity. By virtue of these characteristics, virosomes represent a promising novel class of inactivated influenza vaccines, which not only induce high virus-neutralizing antibody titres, but also prime the cellular arm of the immune system.