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    Publication Date: 2018-06-14
    Description: Cytokines are often used as adjuvants to improve vaccine immunogenicity, since they are important in initiating and shaping the immune response. The available commercial modified live-attenuated vaccines (MLVs) against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) are unable to mount sufficient heterologous protection, as they typically induce weak innate and inadequate T cell responses. In this study, we investigated the immunogenicity and vaccine efficacy of recombinant PRRSV MLVs incorporated with the porcine cytokine interleukin-15 (IL-15) or IL-18 gene fused to a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) modification signal that can anchor the cytokines to the cell membrane. We demonstrated that both cytokines were successfully expressed on the cell membrane of porcine alveolar macrophages after infection with recombinant MLVs. Pigs vaccinated with recombinant MLVs or the parental Suvaxyn MLV had significantly reduced lung lesions and viral RNA loads in the lungs after heterologous challenge with the PRRSV NADC20 strain. The recombinant MLVs SUV-IL-15 and SUV-IL-18 recovered the inhibition of the NK cell response seen with Suvaxyn MLV. The recombinant MLV SUV-IL-15 significantly increased the numbers of gamma interferon (IFN-)-producing cells in circulation at 49 days postvaccination (dpv), especially for IFN--producing CD4 – CD8 + T cells and T cells, compared to the Suvaxyn MLV and SUV-IL-18. Additionally, MLV SUV-IL-15-vaccinated pigs also had elevated levels of T cell responses observed at 7 dpv, 49 dpv, and 7 days postchallenge. These data demonstrate that the recombinant MLV expressing membrane-bound IL-15 enhances NK and T cell immune responses after vaccination and confers improved heterologous protection, although this was not statistically significant compared to the parental MLV. IMPORTANCE Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) has arguably been the most economically important global swine disease, causing immense economic losses worldwide. The available commercial modified live-attenuated vaccines (MLVs) against PRRS virus (PRRSV) are generally effective against only homologous or closely related virus strains but are ineffective against heterologous strains, partially due to the insufficient immune response induced by the vaccine virus. To improve the immunogenicity of MLVs, in this study, we present a novel approach of using porcine IL-15 or IL-18 as an adjuvant by directly incorporating its encoding gene into a PRRSV MLV and expressing it as an adjuvant. Importantly, we directed the expression of the incorporated cytokines to the cell membrane surface by fusing the genes with a membrane-targeting signal from CD59. The recombinant MLV virus expressing the membrane-bound IL-15 cytokine greatly enhanced NK cell and T cell responses and also conferred improved protection against heterologous challenge with the PRRSV NADC20 strain.
    Print ISSN: 0022-538X
    Electronic ISSN: 1098-5514
    Topics: Medicine
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