Journal article

Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses to plant-produced African horse sickness virus VP7 quasi-crystals.

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Publication Details

Author list: Fearon, Dennis, Hitzeroth, Rybicki, Meyers

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Virus Research

Journal name: Virus research

Volume number: 294

Start page: 1

End page: 11

Total number of pages: 11

ISSN: 0168-1702


African horse sickness (AHS) is a devastating viral disease affecting equines and has resulted in many disastrous epizootics. To date, no successful therapeutic treatment exists for AHS, and commercially used live-attenuated vaccines have various undesirable side effects. Previous studies have shown that mice inoculated with insoluble African horse sickness virus (AHSV) VP7 crystals are protected from live challenge with a lethal dose of AHSV. This study investigates the humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in guinea-pigs to a safer monovalent vaccine alternative based on AHSV-5 VP7 quasi-crystals produced in plants. Guinea-pigs received prime- and boost-inoculations of between 10 and 50 μg of purified plant-produced AHSV VP7. Western immunoblot analysis of the humoral response showed stimulation of high titres of anti-VP7 antibodies 28 days after the boost-inoculation in sera from three of the five experimental animals. In addition, RNA-seq transcriptome profiling of guinea-pig spleen-derived RNA highlighted thirty significantly (q ≤ 0.05) differentially expressed genes involved in innate and adaptive immunity. Differential expression of genes involved in Th1, Th2 and Th17 cell differentiation suggest a cell-mediated immune response to AHSV-5 VP7. Upregulation of several important cytokines and cytokine receptors were noted, including TNFSF14, CX3CR1, IFNLR1 and IL17RA. Upregulation of IL17RA suggests a Th17 response which has been reported as a key component in AHSV immunity. While further investigation is needed to validate these findings, these results suggest that AHSV-5 VP7 quasi-crystals produced in N. benthamiana are immunogenic and induce both humoral and cell-mediated responses.


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Last updated on 2021-25-05 at 13:37