A Highly Immunogenic, Protective, and Safe Adenovirus-Based Vaccine Expressing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus S1-CD40L Fusion Protein in a Transgenic Human Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4 Mouse Model

Anwar M. Hashem, Abdullah Algaissi, Anurodh Shankar Agrawal, Sawsan S. Al-Amri, Rowa Y. Alhabbab, Sayed S. Sohrab, Abdulrahman S. Almasoud, Naif Khalaf Alharbi, Bi Hung Peng, Marsha Russell, Xuguang Li, Chien Te K. Tseng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Background: Infection control measures have played a major role in limiting human/camel-to-human transmission of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV); however, development of effective and safe human or camel vaccines is warranted. Methods: We extended and optimized our previous recombinant adenovirus 5 (rAd5)-based vaccine platform characterized by in vivo amplified and CD40-mediated specific responses to generate MERS-CoV S1 subunit-based vaccine. We generated rAd5 constructs expressing CD40-targeted S1 fusion protein (rAd5-S1/F/CD40L), untargeted S1 (rAd5-S1), and Green Fluorescent Protein (rAd5-GFP), and evaluated their efficacy and safety in human dipeptidyl peptidase 4 transgenic (hDPP4 Tg+) mice. Results: Immunization of hDPP4 Tg+ mice with a single dose of rAd5-S1/F/CD40L elicited as robust and significant specific immunoglobulin G and neutralizing antibodies as those induced with 2 doses of rAd5-S1. After MERS-CoV challenge, both vaccines conferred complete protection against morbidity and mortality, as evidenced by significantly undetectable/reduced pulmonary viral loads compared to the control group. However, rAd5-S1- but not rAd5-S1/F/CD40L-immunized mice exhibited marked pulmonary perivascular hemorrhage post-MERS-CoV challenge despite the observed protection. Conclusions: Incorporation of CD40L into rAd5-based MERS-CoV S1 vaccine targeting molecule and molecular adjuvants not only enhances immunogenicity and efficacy but also prevents inadvertent pulmonary pathology after viral challenge, thereby offering a promising strategy to enhance safety and potency of vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1558-1567
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 8 2019



  • CD40L
  • MERS-CoV
  • adenovirus
  • immunopathology
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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