Research Papers:

Novel Epstein-Barr virus-like particles incorporating gH/gL-EBNA1 or gB-LMP2 induce high neutralizing antibody titers and EBV-specific T-cell responses in immunized mice

Elizabeth M. Perez, Joslyn Foley, Timelia Tison, Rute Silva and Javier Gordon Ogembo _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:19255-19273. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13770

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Elizabeth M. Perez1, Joslyn Foley2, Timelia Tison1, Rute Silva1, Javier Gordon Ogembo1,2

1Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, MA, USA

2epartment of Experimental Therapeutics, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA

Correspondence to:

Javier Gordon Ogembo, email: [email protected]

Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus, viral glycoproteins, viral latency proteins, virus-like particles, vaccine

Received: September 16, 2016    Accepted: November 07, 2016    Published: December 01, 2016


Previous Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) prophylactic vaccines based on the major surface glycoprotein gp350/220 as an immunogen have failed to block viral infection in humans, suggesting a need to target other viral envelope glycoproteins. In this study, we reasoned that incorporating gH/gL or gB, critical glycoproteins for viral fusion and entry, on the surface of a virus-like particle (VLP) would be more immunogenic than gp350/220 for generating effective neutralizing antibodies to prevent viral infection of both epithelial and B cell lines. To boost the humoral response and trigger cell-mediated immunity, EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) and latent membrane protein 2 (LMP2), intracellular latency proteins expressed in all EBV-infected cells, were also included as critical components of the polyvalent EBV VLP. gH/gL-EBNA1 and gB-LMP2 VLPs were efficiently produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells, an FDA-approved vehicle for mass-production of biologics. Immunization with gH/gL-EBNA1 and gB-LMP2 VLPs without adjuvant generated both high neutralizing antibody titers in vitro and EBV-specific T-cell responses in BALB/c mice. These data demonstrate that EBV glycoprotein(s)-based VLPs have excellent immunogenicity, and represent a potentially safe vaccine that will be invaluable not only in preventing EBV infection, but importantly, in preventing and treating the 200,000 cases of EBV-associated cancers that occur globally every year.

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