The current live-attenuated measles vaccine leaves many children unprotected until they reach the recommended age of vaccination. We have previously shown that the short peptide corresponding to the hemagglutinin noose epitope (HNE) of the measles virus (MV) hemagglutinin protein induced virus-neutralizing antibodies even in the presence of protective levels of anti-whole virus-specific antibodies. Here we investigate the immunogenicity of HNE peptide-conjugates of diphtheria or tetanus toxoid in mice after active and passive priming with antibodies against the peptide, toxoids and conjugates. Both conjugates induced high titers of peptide antibodies which crossreacted with the virus and protected against a lethal intracranial challenge with a rodent-adapted measles virus, even after active priming with homologous or heterologous toxoid or conjugate. Peptide-specific epitopic suppression was stronger after passive priming with carrier or conjugate antibodies, but diphtheria toxoid as a carrier was less susceptible to suppression than tetanus toxoid and suppression was overcome by an additional boost. Furthermore, prior immunization with peptide-conjugate did not interfere with the development of a complete response to a subsequent injection of MV, suggesting that the benefits of a follow-up vaccination with the current live-attenuated vaccine would not be lost. These results underline the potential of these peptide-based conjugates as vaccine candidates for use in early infancy to close the window of susceptibility before the live-attenuated vaccine can be administered.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Oct 2004|
- Hemagglutinin noose epitope (HNE)