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An mRNA-based broad-spectrum vaccine candidate confers cross-protection against heterosubtypic influenza A viruses

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Version 2 2023-09-19, 01:41
Version 1 2023-09-06, 17:38
journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-19, 01:41 authored by Feifei Xiong, Chi Zhang, Baoyuan Shang, Mei Zheng, Qi Wang, Yahong Ding, Jian Luo, Xiuling Li

Influenza virus is a prominent cause of respiratory illness in humans. Current influenza vaccines offer strain-specific immunity, while provide limited protection against drifted strains. Broad-spectrum influenza vaccines can induce broad and long-term immunity, and thus are regarded as a future direction for the development of next-generation influenza vaccines. In this study, we have conceptualized a novel mRNA-based multi-antigen influenza vaccine consisting of three conserved antigens of influenza A virus, including the ectodomain of the M2 ion channel (M2e), the long alpha helix of haemagglutinin stalk region (LAH), and nucleoprotein (NP). The vaccine design aims to enhance its potency and promote the development of a future broad-spectrum influenza vaccine. Our mRNA-based vaccine demonstrated potent humoral and cellular responses throughout the time points of the murine model, inducing viral neutralizing antibodies, antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity effect mediating antibodies and cross-reactive CD8+ T cell immune responses. The vaccine conferred broad protection against H1N1, H3N2, and H9N2 viruses. Moreover, the single-cell transcriptional profiling of T cells in the spleens of vaccinated mice revealed that the mRNA-based vaccine significantly promoted CD8+ T cells and memory T cells by prime-boost immunization. Our results suggest that the mRNA-based influenza vaccine encoding conserved proteins is a promising approach for eliciting broadly protective humoral and cellular immunity against various influenza viruses.

Funding

This work was supported by Shanghai Science and Technology Development Foundation [Grant Numbers 22QB1404300 and 20S11908300].

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