Defective viral genomes (DVGs) are generated during virus replication. DVGs bearing complementary ends are strong inducers of dendritic cell (DC) maturation and of the expression of antiviral and pro-inflammatory cytokines by triggering signaling of the RIG-I family of intracellular pattern recognition receptors. Our data show that DCs stimulated with virus containing DVGs have an enhanced ability to activate human T cells and can induce adaptive immunity in mice. In addition, we describe the generation of a short Sendai virus (SeV)-derived DVG RNA (DVG-324) that maintains strong immunostimulatory activity in vitro and in vivo. DVG-324 induced high levels of Ifnb expression when transfected into cells and triggered fast expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mobilization of dendritic cells when injected into the footpad of mice. Importantly, DVG-324 enhanced the production of antibodies to a prototypic vaccine after a single intramuscular immunization in mice. Notably, the pro-inflammatory cytokine profile induced by DVG-324 was different from that induced by poly I:C, the only viral RNA analog currently used as an immunostimulant in vivo, suggesting a distinct mechanism of action. SeV-derived oligonucleotides represent novel alternatives to be harnessed as potent adjuvants for vaccination.
Keywords: Adjuvant; DPs; DVG; Defective genomes; Dendritic cells; IFN; Immunization; MDA5; RIG-I; RIG-I-like receptors; RLRs; RSV; SeV; SeV HD; SeV LD; SeV depleted of defective particles; SeV high content of defective particles; Sendai virus; defective particles; defective virus genome; interferon; melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5; poly I:C; polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid; respiratory syncytial virus: inRSV, formalin-inactivated RSV; retinoic acid-inducible gene 1.
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