Development of safe and effective RSV vaccine by modified CD4 epitope in g protein core fragment (GcF)

In Su Cheon, Byoung Shik Shim, Sung Moo Park, Youngjoo Choi, Ji Eun Jang, Dae Im Jung, Jae Ouk Kim, Jun Chang, Cheol Heui Yun, Man Ki Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory tract infection in infants and young children worldwide, but currently no safe and effective vaccine is available. The RSV G glycoprotein (RSVG), a major attachment protein, is an important target for the induction of protective immune responses during RSV infection. However, it has been thought that a CD4+ T cell epitope (a.a. 183-195) within RSVG is associated with pathogenic pulmonary eosinophilia. To develop safe and effective RSV vaccine using RSV G protein core fragment (Gcf), several Gcf variants resulting from modification to CD4+ T cell epitope were constructed. Mice were immunized with each variant Gcf, and the levels of RSV-specific serum IgG were measured. At day 4 post-challenge with RSV subtype A or B, lung viral titers and pulmonary eosinophilia were determined and changes in body weight were monitored. With wild type Gcf derived from RSV A2 (wtAGcf), although RSV A subtypespecific immune responses were induced, vaccine-enhanced disease characterized by excessive pulmonary eosinophil recruitment and body weight loss were evident, whereas wtGcf from RSV B1 (wtBGcf) induced RSV B subtype-specific immune responses without the signs of vaccine-enhanced disease. Mice immunized with Th-mGcf, a fusion protein consisting CD4+ T cell epitope from RSV F (F51-66) conjugated to mGcf that contains alanine substitutions at a.a. position 185 and 188, showed higher levels of RSV-specific IgG response than mice immunized with mGcf. Both wtAGcf and Th-mGcf provided complete protection against RSV A2 and partial protection against RSV B. Importantly, mice immunized with ThmGcf did not develop vaccine-enhanced disease following RSV challenge. Immunization of Th-mGcf provided protection against RSV infection without the symptom of vaccine-enhanced disease. Our study provides a novel strategy to develop a safe and effective mucosal RSV vaccine by manipulating the CD4 + T cell epitope within RSV G protein.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere94269
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2014


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