To avoid outbreaks of influenza virus epidemics and pandemics among human populations, modern medicine requires the development of new universal vaccines that are able to provide protection from a wide range of influenza A virus strains. In the course of development of a universal vaccine, it is necessary to consider that immunity must be generated even against viruses from different hosts because new human epidemic virus strains have their origins in viruses of birds and other animals. We have enriched conserved viral proteins–nucleoprotein (NP) and matrix protein 2 (M2)—by B and T-cell epitopes not only human origin but also swine and avian origin. For this purpose, we analyzed M2 and NP sequences with respect to changes in the sequences of known T and B-cell epitopes and chose conserved and evolutionarily significant epitopes. Eventually, we found consensus sequences of M2 and NP that have the maximum quantity of epitopes that are 100% coincident with them. Consensus epitope-enriched amino acid sequences of M2 and NP proteins were included in a recombinant adenoviral vector. Immunization with Ad5-tet-M2NP induced strong CD8 and CD4 T cells responses, specific to each of the encoded antigens, i.e. M2 and NP. Eight months after immunization with Ad5-tet-M2NP, high numbers of M2- and NP-responding “effector memory” CD44posCD62neg T cells were found in the mouse spleens, which revealed a long-term T cell immune memory conferred by the immunization. In all, the challenge experiments showed an extraordinarily wide-ranging efficacy of protection by the Ad5-tet-M2NP vaccine, covering 5 different heterosubtypes of influenza A virus (2 human, 2 avian and 1 swine).
Tutykhina, I., Esmagambetov, I., Bagaev, A., Pichugin, A., Lysenko, A., Shcherbinin, D., … Gintsburg, A. (2018). Vaccination potential of B and T epitope-enriched NP and M2 against Influenza A viruses from different clades and hosts. PLoS ONE, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191574