MCMV-based vaccine vectors expressing full-length viral proteins provide long-term humoral immune protection upon a single-shot vaccination

Cell Mol Immunol. 2022 Feb;19(2):234-244. doi: 10.1038/s41423-021-00814-5. Epub 2022 Jan 7.


Global pandemics caused by influenza or coronaviruses cause severe disruptions to public health and lead to high morbidity and mortality. There remains a medical need for vaccines against these pathogens. CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a β-herpesvirus that induces uniquely robust immune responses in which remarkably large populations of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells are maintained for a lifetime. Hence, CMV has been proposed and investigated as a novel vaccine vector for expressing antigenic peptides or proteins to elicit protective cellular immune responses against numerous pathogens. We generated two recombinant murine CMV (MCMV) vaccine vectors expressing hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza A virus (MCMVHA) or the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (MCMVS). A single injection of MCMVs expressing either viral protein induced potent neutralizing antibody responses, which strengthened over time. Importantly, MCMVHA-vaccinated mice were protected from illness following challenge with the influenza virus, and we excluded that this protection was due to the effects of memory T cells. Conclusively, we show here that MCMV vectors induce not only long-term cellular immunity but also humoral responses that provide long-term immune protection against clinically relevant respiratory pathogens.

Keywords: Cytomegalovirus; Influenza; SARS-CoV-2; Vaccine vector; humoral imunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cytomegalovirus / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Influenza A virus / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / immunology*
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / prevention & control*
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Vaccination / methods*
  • Vero Cells


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Hemagglutinin Glycoproteins, Influenza Virus
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • hemagglutinin, human influenza A virus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2