Induction of protection against divergent H5N1 influenza viruses using a recombinant fusion protein linking influenza M2e to Onchocerca volvulus activation associated protein-1 (ASP-1) adjuvant.Vaccine. 2010 Oct 18; 28(44):7233-40.V
Our previous studies have shown the adjuvanticity of an Onchocerca volvulus recombinant protein, Ov-ASP-1 (ASP-1), when administered in an aqueous formulation with bystander vaccine antigens or commercial vaccines. In this study, we reported a novel formulation that took advantage of the protein nature of the ASP-1 adjuvant by creating recombinant fusion protein vaccines linking the highly conserved extracellular domain of M2 protein (M2e) consensus sequence of H5N1 influenza viruses with the ASP-1 adjuvant. Two recombinant fusion proteins designated M2e-ASP-1 and M2e3-ASP-1 were studied, in which ASP-1 was fused with one or three tandem copies of the M2e antigen. Our results show that these novel recombinant influenza vaccines, particularly M2e3-ASP-1, induced strong anti-M2e-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in the established mouse model. Furthermore, M2e3-ASP-1 was able to provide significant cross-clade protection against divergent H5N1 viruses. Consequently, this study has demonstrated a potential novel vaccine formulation that could provide a complementary prophylactic strategy in preventing the threat of future influenza outbreak resulting from rapid evolution of the H5N1 virus and co-circulation of multiple antigenic variants in various regions.