Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is increasingly associated with severe acute respiratory infection and acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) in children around the world. However, neither vaccines nor therapeutic drugs are available for EV-D68. Here we report the development of a virus-like particle (VLP) based experimental EV-D68 vaccine. We found that EV-D68 VLPs could be successfully generated in insect cells infected with a recombinant baculovirus co-expressing the P1 precursor and 3CD protease of EV-D68. Biochemical and electron microscopic analyses revealed that EV-D68 VLPs were composed of VP0, VP1, and VP3 capsid proteins derived from precursor P1 and were visualized as spherical particles of ∼30 nm in diameter. Immunization of mice with EV-D68 VLPs resulted in the production of serum antibodies that displayed potent serotype-specific neutralizing activities against EV-D68 virus in vitro. Passive transfer of anti-VLP sera completely protected neonatal recipient mice from lethal EV-D68 infection. Moreover, maternal immunization with these VLPs provided full protection against lethal EV-D68 challenge in suckling mice. Together, these results demonstrate that the recombinant EV-D68 VLP is a promising vaccine candidate against EV-D68 infection.
Keywords: Enterovirus D68; Vaccine; Virus-like particle.
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