Background: Flexuous rod-shape nanoparticles-made of the coat protein of papaya mosaic virus (PapMV)-provide a promising vaccine platform for the presentation of viral antigens to immune cells. The PapMV nanoparticles can be combined with viral antigens or covalently linked to them. The coupling to PapMV was shown to improve the immune response triggered against peptide antigens (<39 amino acids) but it remains to be tested if large proteins can be coupled to this platform and if the coupling will lead to an immune response improvement. Methods: Two full-length recombinant viral proteins, the influenza nucleoprotein (NP) and the simian immunodeficiency virus group-specific protein antigen (GAG) were coupled to PapMV nanoparticles using sortase A. Mice were immunized with the nanoparticles coupled to the antigens and the immune response directed to the antigens were analyzed by ELISA and ELISPOT. Results: We showed the feasibility of coupling two different full-length proteins (GAG and NP) to the nanoparticle. We also showed that the coupling to PapMV nanoparticles improved significantly the humoral and the cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) immune response to the antigens. Conclusion: This proof of concept demonstrates the versatility and the efficacy of the PapMV vaccine platform in the design of vaccines against viral diseases.
Keywords: nanoparticle; papaya mosaic virus; vaccine platform.