The roles of influenza virus haemagglutinin and nucleoprotein in protection: analysis using vaccinia virus recombinants

Scand J Immunol. 1987 Jan;25(1):21-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.1987.tb01042.x.


Vaccinia virus recombinants expressing haemagglutinin (HA) or nucleoprotein (NP) from influenza virus A/PR/8/34 were used to investigate protective immunity in mice, with two protocols. Protection was assessed by mortality and morbidity rates and by lung virus titres after infection intranasally with A/PR/8/34. In the first protocol, mice immunized with vaccinia-HA recombinant virus and infected intranasally with A/PR/8/34 were almost totally protected, but mice immunized with vaccinia-NP virus were very poorly protected. In the second protocol, the recombinant viruses were used to stimulate in vitro T cells that are specific for HA and NP; both populations of T cells, when transferred to A/PR/8/34-infected mice, afforded good protection. The results indicate that an immune response specific for just HA provided protection that was almost indistinguishable from that provided by whole A/PR/8/34. On the other hand, immunization with vaccinia-NP provided poor protective immunity, despite the fact that transferred NP-specific T cells were very effective and vaccinia-NP immunization has previously been shown to stimulate cytotoxic T cells. These results demonstrate that a single viral antigen, delivered by live vaccinia virus, can provide effective protection, but that immunization for cross-protection against heterologous influenza virus remains elusive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / genetics
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / physiology*
  • Immunization, Passive
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza A virus / physiology*
  • Lung / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Nucleoproteins / physiology*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Recombinant Proteins / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / transplantation
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology
  • Vaccinia virus / physiology*
  • Viral Core Proteins*
  • Viral Proteins / physiology*
  • Viral Vaccines / pharmacology*


  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • NP protein, Influenza A virus
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • Nucleoproteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Vaccines