Chimeric Newcastle disease virus-like particles containing DC-binding peptide-fused haemagglutinin protect chickens from virulent Newcastle disease virus and H9N2 avian influenza virus challenge

09 Apr 2020
Xu X, Qian J, Qin L, Li J, Xue C, Ding J, Wang W, Ding W, Yin R, Jin N, Ding Z

Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and H9N2 subtype avian influenza virus (AIV) are two notorious avian respiratory pathogens that cause great losses in the poultry industry. Current inactivated commercial vaccines against NDV and AIV have the disadvantages of inadequate mucosal responses, while an attenuated live vaccine bears the risk of mutation. Dendritic cell (DC) targeting strategies are attractive for their potent mucosal and adaptive immune-stimulating ability against respiratory pathogens. In this study, DC-binding peptide (DCpep)-decorated chimeric virus-like particles (cVLPs), containing NDV haemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) and AIV haemagglutinin (HA), were developed as a DC-targeting mucosal vaccine candidate. DCpep-decorated cVLPs activated DCs in vitro, and induced potent immune stimulation in chickens, with enhanced secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) secretion and splenic T cell differentiation. 40 μg cVLPs can provide full protection against the challenge with homologous, heterologous NDV strains, and AIV H9N2. In addition, DCpep-decorated cVLPs could induce a better immune response when administered intranasally than intramuscularly, as indicated by robust sIgA secretion and a reduced virus shedding period. Taken together, this chimeric VLPs are a promising vaccine candidate to control NDV and AIV H9N2 and a useful platform bearing multivalent antigens.