Transcutaneous vaccination with virus-like particles

Vaccine. 2006 Jun 29;24(26):5406-12. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2006.03.052. Epub 2006 Mar 30.


Virus-like particles (VLP) are inert, empty capsids of viruses, which contain no DNA/RNA from the virus itself. However they retain the structure of a virus and they can be engineered to have antigens attached. We have constructed VLP, derived from Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus, and shown they are highly immunogenic. We tested the capacity of these engineered VLP to induce immune responses when they are administered to mice via the transcutaneous route. This route of vaccination is important, in order to generate mucosal protection. Our data showed that VLP are taken up by dendritic cells (DC), antigen-presenting cells that are essential to initiate acquired immune responses. The VLP induced an increase in expression of CD40, CD80 and CD86 but required an adjuvant, CpG DNA oligo-deoxy nucleotides (ODN) motifs, to enhance these responses. In vivo testing has also shown that the VLP, when wiped on to the skin in conjunction with immunostimulatory CpG, induce Ag-specific immune responses, typified by high levels of IFN-gamma and IgG1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism
  • Capsid / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Hemorrhagic Disease Virus, Rabbit / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin A / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-5 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms
  • Up-Regulation
  • Viral Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*
  • Virion / immunology


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Interleukin-5
  • Viral Vaccines
  • Interferon-gamma