A multipathogen vaccine for rabies, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis and enterovirus 71

  • Katharina Lauer

Student thesis: Phd


To enhance the global control of encephalitis and hepatitis caused by rabies virus (RABV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), enterovirus 71 (EV71) and hepatitis B virus (HBV), novel immunisation strategies are needed. All four diseases particularly affect low income countries with marginal health services - an affordable combined vaccine strategy could alleviate the large burden of disease. Therefore, we aimed to construct a multipathogen vaccine assessing the immunising activity of a recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), expressing key antigens (RABV-glycoprotein, JEV pre-membrane & envelope protein, EV71-P1 protein and large hepatitis B surface antigen) from the various pathogens. Successful delivery of the pathogen sequences into non-essential sites (deletion site I, II, VI) of MVA via homologous recombination with a transfer plasmid, was demonstrated by transient color selection (LacZ-marker) in vitro. The stable insertion of the expression cassettes was validated over ten virus passages by PCR with specific primer sets, targeting the pathogen sequence. Two recombinants, one carrying the EV71 and JEV pathogen sequence and one carrying the RABV-HBV pathogen sequence were generated and validated by PCR.To ensure similar expression of the key antigens, a T7-promoter was linked to the expression cassettes of all pathogen sequences. Direct regulation of this promoter was achieved through co-infection with a second T7-polymerase expressing MVA under the control of a vaccinia p7.5 promoter. Protein expression from recombinant MVA using the co-infection model of expression in vitro, was further characterised by Western blot, dot blot and immunocytochemistry. All inserted transgenes were expressed using an avian (chicken embryo fibroblasts) or mammalian (human fetal lung fibroblasts) cell culture system. To investigate the co-infection model of antigen delivery in vivo, a pilot murine immunogenicity study was performed in six Balb/c mice using the MVA-RABV-HBV recombinant in a homologous prime-boost regimen two weeks apart. To detect antibodies against the expressed pathogen sequences in the mouse serum an antibody-capture assay was performed (Western blot, dot blot). The antigen (used to capture murine antibodies) was purified RABV-glycoprotein or large hepatitis B surface antigen expressed from a baculovirus. The murine antibodies were detected by a secondary anti-mouse antibody, conjugated with horseradish peroxidase for a chemiluminescent reporter assay. Although, serum antibodies against MVA were induced in all mice, no serum antibodies against RABV or HBV could be detected.In summary, we were able to demonstrate that two transgenes, when inserted into one or two different loci in the MVA genome, can be expressed in vitro when using the co-infection model of gene expression with a T7-expression system. This project has provided new insights into a novel group of vaccines, the multipathogen viral vector vaccines, employing MVA as a vector. Future studies will be needed to further explore this vaccine-group, as well as the co-infection model of expression.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorThomas Blanchard (Supervisor), Pamela Vallely (Supervisor) & Raymond Borrow (Supervisor)


  • Enterovirus 71
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Japanese encephalitis virus
  • multipathogen vaccine
  • viral vector vaccine
  • Modified vaccinia Ankara
  • Rabies virus

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