Virologica Sinica

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 317–327 | Cite as

Recombinant rabies virus expressing IL-15 enhances immunogenicity through promoting the activation of dendritic cells in mice

  • Tiange Chen
  • Yajing Zhang
  • Zhao Wang
  • Jie Yang
  • Mingming Li
  • Kunlun Wang
  • Min Cui
  • Zhen F. Fu
  • Ling ZhaoEmail author
  • Ming ZhouEmail author
Research Article


Rabies remains a public health threat that kills approximately 59,000 people worldwide each year, most of which are from the developing countries of Africa and Asia where dog rabies are endemic. Therefore, developing an affordable and efficacious vaccine is crucial for rabies control in these countries. Interleukin (IL)-15, an immunoregulatory cytokine, is a pluripotent molecule with therapeutic potential, which targets many cell types and links the innate and adaptive immune system. In this study, IL-15 gene was cloned and inserted into the genome of a recombinant rabies virus (RABV) strain LBNSE (designated as LBNSE-IL15), and the effect of over-expression of IL-15 on the immunogenicity of RABV was investigated. It was found that mice vaccinated with LBNSE-IL15 could induce significantly higher level of virus-neutralizing antibody (VNA) than those immunized with LBNSE, resulting in the higher protection after challenge. Further investigation was performed to find out the possible role of IL-15 plays in the process of antibody induction, and it was found that LBNSE-IL15 could enhance the maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) in immunized mice. Furthermore, the mice immunized with LBNSE-IL15 could promote the TFH cells differentiation and the generation of germinal center B cells and plasma cells. Together, these data indicated that IL-15 could be a potential adjuvant in enhancing the immunogenicity of RABV, contributing to the development of more-efficacious rabies vaccines.


rabies interleukin-15 dendritic cells germinal center plasma cells 


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This study was partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31402176, 31372419, 31522057), the National Program on Key Research Project of China (2016YFD0500400), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2662016 QD036, to MZ); the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (863 program, number 2011AA10A212), and the Ministry of Agriculture of China (special fund for Agro-scientific research in the Public Interest, 2013 03042, to ZFF).


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology, College of Veterinary MedicineHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Preventive Veterinary Medicine of Hubei ProvinceHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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