A fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4) Fiber2 subunit vaccine candidate provides complete protection against challenge with virulent FAdV-4 strain in chickens

01 Dec 2021
Yin D, He L, Zhu E, Fang T, Yue J, Wen M, Wang K and Cheng Z

Hypervirulent fowl adenovirus serotype 4 (FAdV-4)-induced hepatitis-hydropericardium syndrome (HHS) with high mortality causes huge economic losses to the poultry industry worldwide. However, commercially available vaccines against FAdV-4 infection remain scarce. Here, we prepared a subunit vaccine candidate derived from the bacterially expressed recombinant Fiber2 protein (termed as rFiber2 subunit vaccine) of FAdV-4 GZ-QL strain (a hypervirulent strain isolated in Guizhou province) and a recombinant plasmid pVAX1-Fiber2 as DNA vaccine candidate (termed as Fiber2 DNA vaccine). The immune effects of different dosages (50, 100, and 150 μg) of these were evaluated through immunization and challenge studies in chickens. Three injections of the rFiber2 subunit vaccine or the Fiber2 DNA vaccine induced robust humoral and cellular immune responses in chickens, which was assessed based on the secretion of high-level neutralizing antibodies, Th1- (IL-2, IFN-γ) and Th2-type cytokines (IL-4, IL-6). Importantly, the efficacy of the rFiber2 subunit vaccine was significantly higher (80 %-100 %) compared with the Fiber2 DNA vaccine (50 %-60 %) and a commercial inactivated vaccine (80 %). Collectively, these results suggest that the rFiber2 subunit and Fiber2 DNA vaccine candidate induced remarkable humoral and cellular immune responses, while the rFiber2 subunit vaccine candidate possesses better potential in the fight against FAdV-4 infection, laying foundations for the effective control of HHS in chickens.