Induction of robust and specific humoral and cellular immune responses by bovine viral diarrhea virus virus-like particles (BVDV-VLPs) engineered with baculovirus expression vector system
Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is an important animal pathogen that affects cattle. Infections caused by the virus have resulted in substantial economic losses and outbreaks of BVDV are reported globally. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are promising vaccine technology largely due to their safety and strong ability to elicit robust immune responses. In this study, we developed a strategy to generate BVDV-VLPs using a baculovirus expression vector system (BEVS). We were able to assemble BVDV-VLPs composed of dimerized viral proteins E2 and Erns, and the VLPs were spherical particles with the diameters of about 50 nm. Mice immunized with 15 μg of VLPs adjuvanted with ISA201 elicited higher levels of E2-specific IgG, IgG1, and IgG2a antibodies as well as higher BVDV-neutralizing activity in comparison with controls. Re-stimulation of the splenocytes collected from mice immunized with VLPs led to significantly increased levels of CD3+CD4+T cells and CD3+CD8+T cells. In addition, the splenocytes showed dramatically enhanced proliferation and the secretion of Th1-associated IFN-γ and Th2-associated IL-4 compared to that of the unstimulated control group. Taken together, our data indicate that BVDV-VLPs efficiently induced BVDV-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in mice, showing a promising potential of developing BVDV-VLP-based vaccines for the prevention of BVDV infections.