Immunization with cytomegalovirus envelope glycoprotein M and glycoprotein N DNA vaccines can provide mice with complete protection against a lethal murine cytomegalovirus challenge
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Human cytomegalovirus virions contain three major glycoprotein complexes (gC I, II, III), all of which are required for CMV infectivity. These complexes also represent major antigenic targets for anti-viral immune responses. The gC II complex consists of two glycoproteins, gM and gN. In the current study, DNA vaccines expressing the murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) homologs of the gM and gN proteins were evaluated for protection against lethal MCMV infection in a mouse model. Humoral and cellular immune responses, spleen viral titers, and mice survival and body-weight changes were examined. The results showed that immunization with gM or gN DNA vaccine alone was not able to offer good protection, whereas co-immunization with both gM and gN induced an effective neutralizing antibody response and cellular immune response, and provided mice with complete protection against a lethal MCMV challenge. This study provides the first in vivo evidence that the gC II (gM-gN) complex may be able to serve as a protective subunit antigen for future HCMV vaccine development.
KeywordsCytomegalovirus Envelope glycoprotein complex gM/gN DNA vaccine
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