Vesicular stomatitis virus and DNA vaccines expressing zika virus nonstructural protein 1 induce substantial but not sterilizing protection against zika virus infection

Anzhong Li, Miaoge Xue, Zayed Attia, Jingyou Yu, Mijia Lu, Chao Shan, Xueya Liang, Thomas Z. Gao, Pei Yong Shi, Mark E. Peeples, Prosper N. Boyaka, Shan Lu Liu, Jianrong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) of several flaviviruses, including West Nile, dengue, and yellow fever viruses, is capable of inducing variable degrees of protection against flavivirus infection in animal models. However, the immunogenicity of NS1 protein of Zika virus (ZIKV) is less understood. Here, we determined the efficacy of ZIKV NS1-based vaccine candidates using two delivery platforms, methyltransferase-defective recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (mtdVSV) and a DNA vaccine. We first show that expression of ZIKV NS1 could be significantly enhanced by optimizing the signal peptide. A single dose of mtdVSV-NS1-based vaccine or two doses of DNA vaccine induced high levels of NS1-specfic antibody and T cell immune responses but provided only partial protection against ZIKV viremia in BALB/c mice. In Ifnar1-/- mice, neither NS1-based vaccine provided protection against a lethal high dose (105 PFU) ZIKV challenge, but mtdVSV-NS1-based vaccine prevented deaths from a low dose (103 PFU) challenge, though they experienced viremia and body weight loss. We conclude that ZIKV NS1 alone conferred substantial, but not complete, protection against ZIKV infection. Nevertheless, these results highlight the value of ZIKV NS1 for vaccine development. IMPORTANCE Most Zika virus (ZIKV) vaccine research has focused on the E or prM-E proteins and the induction of high levels of neutralizing antibodies. However, these ZIKV neutralizing antibodies cross-react with other flaviviruses, which may aggravate the disease via an antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) mechanism. ZIKV NS1 protein may be an alternative antigen for vaccine development, since antibodies to NS1 do not bind to the virion, thereby eliminating the risk of ADE. Here, we show that recombinant VSV and DNA vaccines expressing NS1, alone, confer partial protection against ZIKV infection in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient mice, highlighting the value of NS1 as a potential vaccine candidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00048-20
JournalJournal of virology
Volume94
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2020

Keywords

  • NS1
  • Vaccine
  • Zika virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology

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  • Cite this

    Li, A., Xue, M., Attia, Z., Yu, J., Lu, M., Shan, C., Liang, X., Gao, T. Z., Shi, P. Y., Peeples, M. E., Boyaka, P. N., Liu, S. L., & Li, J. (2020). Vesicular stomatitis virus and DNA vaccines expressing zika virus nonstructural protein 1 induce substantial but not sterilizing protection against zika virus infection. Journal of virology, 94(17), [e00048-20]. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00048-20