A reverse vaccinology system, Vaxign, was used to identify and select a subset of five African Swine Fever (ASF) antigens that were successfully purified from human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK) cells and produced in Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) viral vectors. Three HEK-purified antigens [B646L (p72), E183L (p54), and O61R (p12)], and three MVA-vectored antigens [B646L, EP153R, and EP402R (CD2v)] were evaluated using a prime-boost immunization regimen swine safety and immunogenicity study. Antibody responses were detected in pigs following prime-boost immunization four weeks apart with the HEK-293-purified p72, p54, and p12 antigens. Notably, sera from the vaccinees were positive by immunofluorescence on ASFV (Georgia 2007/1)-infected primary macrophages. Although MVA-vectored p72, CD2v, and EP153R failed to induce antibody responses, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ+) spot forming cell responses against all three antigens were detected one week post-boost. The highest IFN-γ+ spot forming cell responses were detected against p72 in pigs primed with MVA-p72 and boosted with the recombinant p72. Antigen-specific (p12, p72, CD2v, and EP153R) T-cell proliferative responses were also detected post-boost. Collectively, these results are the first demonstration that ASFV subunit antigens purified from mammalian cells or expressed in MVA vectors are safe and can induce ASFV-specific antibody and T-cell responses following a prime-boost immunization regimen in swine.
Keywords: African swine fever virus; HEK-293; MVA; Recombinant protein expression; Reverse vaccinology; Vaccine development.
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