Virus-like particles (VLP) are effective vehicles for delivery of heterologous antigen to antigen-presenting cells. However VLP alone are insufficiently stimulatory to generate the signals required to facilitate effective priming of naïve T cells. We show that the VLP derived from rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus can bind the galactose-containing adjuvant α-galactosylceramide to form a composite particle for co-delivery of antigen and adjuvant to the same antigen-presenting cell. Vaccination with VLP and α-galactosylceramide activated splenic iNKT cells to produce IFN-γ and IL-4, led to the generation of antigen-specific T cells that protected prophylactically against subcutaneous tumor challenge, and was more effective at generating anti-tumor immune responses than either component individually. These data demonstrate a novel method for immunopotentiating VLP to increase their efficacy in the generation of anti-tumor responses via the innate ligand recognition properties of calicivirus-derived nanoparticles.
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