Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a deadly viral respiratory disease caused by MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. To date, there is no specific treatment proven effective against this viral disease. In addition, no vaccine has been licensed to prevent MERS-CoV infection thus far. Therefore, our current review focuses on the most recent studies in search of an effective MERS vaccine. Overall, vaccine candidates against MERS-CoV are mainly based upon the viral spike (S) protein, due to its vital role in the viral infectivity, although several studies focused on other viral proteins such as the nucleocapsid (N) protein, envelope (E) protein, and non-structural protein 16 (NSP16) have also been reported. In general, the potential vaccine candidates can be classified into six types: viral vector-based vaccine, DNA vaccine, subunit vaccine, nanoparticle-based vaccine, inactivated-whole virus vaccine and live-attenuated vaccine, which are discussed in detail. Besides, the immune responses and potential antibody dependent enhancement of MERS-CoV infection are extensively reviewed. In addition, animal models used to study MERS-CoV and evaluate the vaccine candidates are discussed intensively.
Matched MeSH terms: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
Bats are special in their ability to host emerging viruses. As the only flying mammal, bats endure high metabolic rates yet exhibit elongated lifespans. It is currently unclear whether these unique features are interlinked. The important inflammasome sensor, NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3), has been linked to both viral-induced and age-related inflammation. Here, we report significantly dampened activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome in bat primary immune cells compared to human or mouse counterparts. Lower induction of apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) speck formation and secretion of interleukin-1β in response to both 'sterile' stimuli and infection with multiple zoonotic viruses including influenza A virus (-single-stranded (ss) RNA), Melaka virus (PRV3M, double-stranded RNA) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (+ssRNA) was observed. Importantly, this reduction of inflammation had no impact on the overall viral loads. We identified dampened transcriptional priming, a novel splice variant and an altered leucine-rich repeat domain of bat NLRP3 as the cause. Our results elucidate an important mechanism through which bats dampen inflammation with implications for longevity and unique viral reservoir status.
Matched MeSH terms: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has infected at least 2040 patients and caused 712 deaths since its first appearance in 2012, yet neither pathogen-specific therapeutics nor approved vaccines are available. To address this need, we are developing a subunit recombinant protein vaccine comprising residues 377-588 of the MERS-CoV spike protein receptor-binding domain (RBD), which, when formulated with the AddaVax adjuvant, it induces a significant neutralizing antibody response and protection against MERS-CoV challenge in vaccinated animals. To prepare for the manufacture and first-in-human testing of the vaccine, we have developed a process to stably produce the recombinant MERS S377-588 protein in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. To accomplish this, we transfected an adherent dihydrofolate reductase-deficient CHO cell line (adCHO) with a plasmid encoding S377-588 fused with the human IgG Fc fragment (S377-588-Fc). We then demonstrated the interleukin-2 signal peptide-directed secretion of the recombinant protein into extracellular milieu. Using a gradually increasing methotrexate (MTX) concentration to 5 μM, we increased protein yield by a factor of 40. The adCHO-expressed S377-588-Fc recombinant protein demonstrated functionality and binding specificity identical to those of the protein from transiently transfected HEK293T cells. In addition, hCD26/dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) transgenic mice vaccinated with AddaVax-adjuvanted S377-588-Fc could produce neutralizing antibodies against MERS-CoV and survived for at least 21 days after challenge with live MERS-CoV with no evidence of immunological toxicity or eosinophilic immune enhancement. To prepare for large scale-manufacture of the vaccine antigen, we have further developed a high-yield monoclonal suspension CHO cell line.
Matched MeSH terms: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology*