Henipavirus-like particles induce a CD8 T cell response in C57BL/6 mice
Nipah virus (NiV), a BSL-4 pathogen, belongs to the genus Henipavirus within the family Paramyxoviridae. To date, no effective vaccine is available. Although most of the current vaccine studies aim to induce a neutralizing antibody response, it has become evident that a promising vaccine should target both, humoral and cell-mediated immune response. Virus-like particles (VLPs) have been shown to activate both arms of the adaptive immune response. In our study, VLPs composed of the NiV surface glycoproteins G and F and the matrix protein of the closely related Hendra virus (HeV M) induced both, a neutralizing antibody response and an antigen-specific CD8 T cell response with proliferation, IFN-γ expression and Th1 cytokine secretion in C57BL/6 mice. In contrast, in BALB/c mice only a neutralizing antibody response was observed. All three viral proteins included in the VLPs were shown to harbor CD8 T cell epitopes; however, the combination of all three proteins enhanced the magnitude of the CD8 T cell response. To conclude, VLPs represent a promising vaccine candidate, as they induce humoral as well as CD8 T cell-mediated immune responses.