Nanoparticle-based Anti-influenza Vaccine

  • Author: Melania Tesio
  • Published: 06 June 2013
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Nanoparticle-based Anti-influenza Vaccine

Hemagglutinin (HA) is a surface glycoprotein used by influenza virus to infect target cells. Vaccines evoking an immune response against HA constitute a promising approach to defeat influenza. Nevertheless, their fabrication is challenging as HA continuously undergoes structural changes to evade the immune system’s recognition.

To overcome this issue, Masaru Kanekiyo and colleagues, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, USA, developed a novel HA-targeting vaccine. The researchers created synthetic nanoparticles constituted of HA trimers protruding from a spherical core of ferritin – an iron storage protein. In doing so, they obtained nanoparticles that mimicked the physiological structure of the viral HA. Thus, when injected into mice, these nanoparticles stimulated the immune system to produce antibodies recognizing highly conserved HA regions. In doing so, the HA-nanoparticles elicited protection against a broad spectrum influenza strains. Thus, they represent a new promising anti-influenza vaccine.

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