Current efforts to develop Zika virus (ZIKV) subunit vaccines have been focused on pre-membrane (prM) and envelope (E) proteins, but the role of NS1 in ZIKV-specific immune response and protection is poorly understood. Here, we develop an attenuated recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccine expressing ZIKV prM-E-NS1 as a polyprotein. This vectored vaccine candidate is attenuated in mice, where a single immunization induces ZIKV-specific antibody and T cell immune responses that provide protection against ZIKV challenge. Co-expression of prM, E, and NS1 induces significantly higher levels of Th2 and Th17 cytokine responses than prM-E. In addition, NS1 alone is capable of conferring partial protection against ZIKV infection in mice even though it does not induce neutralizing antibodies. These results demonstrate that attenuated rVSV co-expressing prM, E, and NS1 is a promising vaccine candidate for protection against ZIKV infection and highlights an important role for NS1 in ZIKV-specific cellular immune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)