Fcrn-targeted mucosal vaccination against influenza virus infection

Susan Park Ochsner, Weizhong Li, Arunraj Mekhemadhom Rajendrakumar, Senthilkumar Palaniyandi, Gyanada Acharya, Xiaoyang Liu, Gefei Wang, Florian Krammer, Meiqing Shi, Wenbin Tuo, C. David Pauza, Xiaoping Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The respiratory tract is constantly exposed to various airborne pathogens. Most vaccines against respiratory infections are designed for the parenteral routes of administration; consequently, they provide relatively minimal protection in the respiratory tract. A vaccination strategy that aims to induce the protective mucosal immune responses in the airway is urgently needed. The FcRn mediates IgG Ab transport across the epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract. By mimicking this natural IgG transfer, we tested whether FcRn delivers vaccine Ags to induce a protective immunity to respiratory infections. In this study, we designed a monomeric IgG Fc fused to influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) Ag with a trimerization domain. The soluble trimeric HA-Fc were characterized by their binding with conformation-dependent HA Abs or FcRn. In wild-type, but not FcRn knockout, mice, intranasal immunization with HA-Fc plus CpG adjuvant conferred significant protection against lethal intranasal challenge with influenza A/PR/8/34 virus. Further, mice immunized with a mutant HA-Fc lacking FcRn binding sites or HA alone succumbed to lethal infection. Protection was attributed to high levels of neutralizing Abs, robust and long-lasting B and T cell responses, the presence of lung-resident memory T cells and bone marrow plasma cells, and a remarkable reduction of virus-induced lung inflammation. Our results demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that FcRn can effectively deliver a trimeric viral vaccine Ag in the respiratory tract and elicit potent protection against respiratory infection. This study further supports a view that FcRn-mediated mucosal immunization is a platform for vaccine delivery against common respiratory pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1310-1321
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021


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