Universal influenza virus vaccine candidates that focus on the conserved hemagglutinin (HA) stalk domain and the extracellular domain of the matrix protein 2 (M2e) have been developed to increase the breadth of protection against multiple strains. In this study, we report a novel inactivated influenza virus vaccine approach that combines these two strategies. We inserted a human consensus M2e epitope into the immunodominant antigenic site (Ca2 site) of three different chimeric HAs (cHAs). Sequential immunization with inactivated viruses containing these modified cHAs substantially enhanced M2e antibody responses while simultaneously boosting stalk antibody responses. The combination of additional M2e antibodies with HA stalk antibodies resulted in superior antibody-mediated protection in mice against challenge viruses expressing homologous or heterosubtypic hemagglutinin and neuraminidase compared to vaccination strategies that targeted the HA stalk or M2e epitopes in isolation.
|State||Published - Sep 2019|
- Conserved epitopes
- Enhanced immunogenicity
- Universal influenza virus vaccine