Recombinant virus-like nanoparticles (VLPs) are a promising nanoparticle platform to develop safe vaccines for many viruses. Herein, we describe a novel and rapid protein transfer process to enhance the potency of enveloped VLPs by decorating influenza VLPs with exogenously added glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored immunostimulatory molecules (GPI-ISMs). With protein transfer, the level of GPI-ISM incorporation onto VLPs is controllable by varying incubation time and concentration of GPI-ISMs added. ISM incorporation was dependent upon the presence of a GPI-anchor and incorporated proteins were stable and functional for at least 4weeks when stored at 4°C. Vaccinating mice with GPI-granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF)-incorporated-VLPs induced stronger antibody responses and better protection against a heterologous influenza virus challenge than unmodified VLPs. Thus, VLPs can be enriched with ISMs by protein transfer to increase the potency and breadth of the immune response, which has implications in developing effective nanoparticle-based vaccines against a broad spectrum of enveloped viruses.
From the clinical editor: The inherent problem with current influenza vaccines is that they do not generate effective cross-protection against heterologous viral strains. In this article, the authors described the development of virus-like nanoparticles (VLPs) as influenza vaccines with enhanced efficacy for cross-protection, due to an easy protein transfer modification process.
Keywords: GM-CSF; GPI-anchored proteins; Influenza; Protein transfer; Virus-like particles.
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