The mosquito transmitted Chikungunya virus, which causes Chikungunya fever, is spreading continuously. No vaccine is so far available. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have experimentally recombined segments of the virus surface protein E2, thus creating artificial proteins. The domain generated that way – "sAB+" – was able to confer a protective effect against Chikungunya virus to the animal. An immunization by means of this small protein fragment could thus provide a suitable approach to developing a Chikungunya vaccine. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases reports on the research results in its online edition of 23 April 2015 in the evening.
The Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and causes an infection in humans known as Chikungunya fever. CHIKV occurs in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Regions where it has already caused epidemics include Africa, territories around the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and meanwhile also the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
Around 1.2 million people are estimated to be infected so far during an epidemic in America. Since the Aedes albopictus mosquito, also known as Asian tiger mosquito, has now reached southern Europe and the USA, we are faced with further spreading of the virus. The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut has issued the regulation in 2007 that after returning from an endemic area, blood donors must be deferred from donating blood for at least two weeks to prevent an infection via the blood stream.
The disease is characterized by fever and severe joint pain, hence its name, which means "that which bends up". In 30 to 40 percent of the cases, these joint pains can last several months or even up to several years.
Attempts at developing suitable vaccines have up to now been unsuccessful. To develop an effective vaccine, it is imperative to identify a suitable antigen structure of the virus which will create an effective immune response in humans. Previous approaches have used the entire E2 surface protein as a basis for the vaccine, partly in combination with other virus proteins. These proteins, however, have a relatively large structure, which would make commercial vaccine production difficult.
Professor Barbara Schnierle, head of the section "AIDS, New and Emerging Pathogens" of the division Virology at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut and her team have investigated whether smaller more specific and less complex-to-be produced parts of E2 would suffice for conferring a protective immune response. Based on the three-dimensional structure of the protein, the researchers of the PEI selected different areas exposed on the surface to join them together, thus creating several artificial protein fragments.
After production in E. coli and purification, mice were immunized with these protein fragments, and their blood was examined for neutralizing antibodies later on. In this experiment, one fragment, described as sAB+, proved to be the most effective one to induce neutralizing antibodies. It was used to immunize mice which were then infected by the wild-type Chikungunya virus.
Compared with non-vaccinated animals, the mice treated showed significantly less virus RNA in the blood – a sign of partial immune protection. ""Our research work shows that single and artificially composed fragments of the Chikungunya virus surface protein may suffice to induce a partially protective immune response. We consider our vaccine approach as promising for further development"", said Professor Schnierle in her explanation of the research results.
Weber C, Büchner SM, Schnierle BS (2015):
A Small Antigenic Determinant of the Chikungunya Virus E2 Protein Is Sufficient to Induce Neutralizing Antibodies which Are Partially Protective in Mice.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0003684.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines, in Langen near Frankfurt/Main is a senior federal authority reporting to the Federal Ministry of Health (Bundesministerium für Gesundheit, BMG). It is responsible for the research, assessment, and marketing authorisation of biomedicines for human use and immunological veterinary medicinal products. Its remit also includes the authorisation of clinical trials and pharmacovigilance, i.e. recording and evaluation of potential adverse effects.
Other duties of the institute include official batch control, scientific advice and inspections. In-house experimental research in the field of biomedicines and life science form an indispensable basis for the manifold tasks performed at the institute.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, with its roughly 800 members of staff, also has advisory functions nationally (federal government, federal states (Länder)), and internationally (World Health Organisation, European Medicines Agency, European Commission, Council of Europe etc.).
http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003684 - Online Version of the Publication
Dr. Susanne Stöcker | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy