Synthetic toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR7 ligands as influenza virus vaccine adjuvants induce rapid, sustained, and broadly protective responses

Peter H. Goff, Tomoko Hayashi, Luis Martínez-Gil, Maripat Corr, Brian Crain, Shiyin Yao, Howard B. Cottam, Michael Chan, Irene Ramos, Dirk Eggink, Mitra Heshmati, Florian Krammer, Karen Messer, Minya Pu, Ana Fernandez-Sesma, Peter Palese, Dennis A. Carson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Current vaccines against influenza virus infection rely on the induction of neutralizing antibodies targeting the globular head of the viral hemagglutinin (HA). Protection against seasonal antigenic drift or sporadic pandemic outbreaks requires further vaccine development to induce cross-protective humoral responses, potentially to the more conserved HA stalk region. Here, we present a novel viral vaccine adjuvant comprised of two synthetic ligands for Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR7. 1Z105 is a substituted pyrimido[5,4-b]indole specific for the TLR4-MD2 complex, and 1V270 is a phospholipid-conjugated TLR7 agonist. Separately, 1Z105 induces rapid Th2-associated IgG1 responses, and 1V270 potently generates Th1 cellular immunity. 1Z105 and 1V270 in combination with recombinant HA from the A/Puerto Rico/8/1934 strain (rPR/8 HA) effectively induces rapid and sustained humoral immunity that is protective against lethal challenge with a homologous virus. More importantly, immunization with the combined adjuvant and rPR/8 HA, a commercially available split vaccine, or chimeric rHA antigens significantly improves protection against both heterologous and heterosubtypic challenge viruses. Heterosubtypic protection is associated with broadly reactive antibodies to HA stalk epitopes. Histological examination and cytokine profiling reveal that intramuscular (i.m.) administration of 1Z105 and 1V270 is less reactogenic than a squalene-based adjuvant, AddaVax. In summary, the combination of 1Z105 and 1V270 with a recombinant HA induces rapid, long-lasting, and balanced Th1- and Th2-type immunity; demonstrates efficacy in a variety of murine influenza virus vaccine models assaying homologous, heterologous, and heterosubtypic challenge viruses; and has an excellent safety profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3221-3235
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


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