Selectively targeting haemagglutinin antigen to chicken CD83 receptor induces faster and stronger immunity against avian influenza
The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of vaccines can be enhanced by the selective delivery of antigens to the antigen-presenting cells (APCs). In this study, H9N2 avian influenza virus haemagglutinin (HA) antigen, was targeted by fusing it to single-chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies specific to CD83 receptor expressed on chicken APCs. We observed an increased level of IFNγ, IL6, IL1β, IL4, and CxCLi2 mRNA upon stimulation of chicken splenocytes ex vivo by CD83 scFv targeted H9HA. In addition, CD83 scFv targeted H9HA induced higher serum haemagglutinin inhibition activity and virus neutralising antibodies compared to untargeted H9HA, with induction of antibodies as early as day 6 post primary vaccination. Furthermore, chickens vaccinated with CD83 scFv targeted H9HA showed reduced H9N2 challenge virus shedding compared to untargeted H9HA. These results suggest that targeting antigens to CD83 receptors could improve the efficacy of poultry vaccines.