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2022-7-3 10:23:30

Moise L, Meyers LM, Jang H, Grizotte-Lake M, Boyle. Novel H7N9 influenza immunogen design enhances mobilization of seasonal influenza T cell memory in H3N2 pre-immune mice. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2022 Jun 15:2082191
submited by kickingbird at Jun, 18, 2022 13:20 PM from Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2022 Jun 15:2082191

Strategies that improve influenza vaccine immunogenicity are critical for the development of vaccines for pandemic preparedness. Hemagglutinin (HA)-specific CD4+ T cell epitopes support protective B cell responses against seasonal influenza. However, in the case of avian H7N9, which poses a pandemic threat, HA elicits only weak neutralizing antibody responses in infection and vaccination without adjuvant. We hypothesized that an immune-engineered H7N9 HA incorporating a broadly reactive H3N2 HA-specific memory CD4+ T cell epitope that replaces a regulatory T cell-inducing epitope at the corresponding position in H7N9 HA could harness preexisting influenza T cell immunity to increase CD4+ T cells that are needed for protective antibody development. We designed and produced a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine that carries the epitope augmented H7N9 HA (OPT1) and immunized HLA-DR3 transgenic mice with established H3N2 immunity. OPT1-VLPs stimulated higher stem cell, central, and effector memory CD4+ T cell levels over wild type VLP immunization. In addition, activated, IL-21-producing follicular helper T cell frequencies were enhanced. This novel immunogen design strategy illustrates that site-specific modifications aimed to augment T cell epitope content enhance CD4+ T cell responses among critical subpopulations capable of aiding protective immune responses upon antigen re-encounter and that mobilization of immune memory can be used to overcome the poor immunogenicity of avian influenza viruses.

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