The respiratory syncytial virus fusion protein formulated with a polymer-based adjuvant induces multiple signaling pathways in macrophages

Vaccine. 2018 Apr 19;36(17):2326-2336. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.03.016. Epub 2018 Mar 17.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes acute respiratory tract infections in infants, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. No licensed vaccine is available against RSV. We previously reported that intranasal immunization of rodents and lambs with a RSV vaccine candidate (ΔF/TriAdj) induces protective immunity with a good safety profile. ΔF/TriAdj promoted innate immune responses in respiratory mucosal tissues in vivo, by local chemokine and cytokine production, as well as infiltration and activation of immune cells including macrophages. The macrophage is an important cell type in context of both innate and adaptive immune responses against RSV. Therefore, we characterized the effects of ΔF/TriAdj on a murine macrophage cell line, RAW264.7, and bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs). A gene expression study of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) revealed induction of endosomal and cytosolic receptors in RAW264.7 cells and BMMs by ΔF/TriAdj, but no up-regulation by ΔF in PBS. As a secondary response to the PRR gene expression, induction of several chemokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as up-regulation of MHC-II and co-stimulatory immune markers, was observed. To further investigate the mechanisms involved in ΔF/TriAdj-mediated secondary responses, we used relevant signal transduction pathway inhibitors. Based on inhibition studies at both transcript and protein levels, JNK, ERK1/2, CaMKII, PI3K and JAK pathways were clearly responsible for ΔF/TriAdj-mediated chemokine and pro-inflammatory cytokine responses, while the p38 and NF-κB pathways appeared to be not or minimally involved. ΔF/TriAdj induced IFN-β, which may participate in the JAK-STAT pathway to further amplify CXCL-10 production, which was strongly up-regulated. Blocking this pathway by a JAK inhibitor almost completely abrogated CXCL-10 production and caused a significant reduction in the cell surface expression of MHC-II and co-stimulatory immune markers. These data demonstrate that ΔF/TriAdj induces multiple signaling pathways in macrophages.

Keywords: Inhibitors; RAW 264.7 cells; Signaling; ΔF/TriAdj.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Chemokines / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Immunization / methods
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / virology
  • Mice
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • RAW 264.7 Cells
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / metabolism
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines / chemistry
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines / immunology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Vaccination / methods
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Fusion Proteins / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokines
  • Polymers
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines
  • Viral Fusion Proteins