GSBS Student Publications


Immunogenicity and protection efficacy of subunit-based smallpox vaccines using variola major antigens

Student Author(s)

Michael G. Kishko

GSBS Program

Immunology & Virology Program

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Amino Acid Sequence; Animals; Antigens, Viral; Body Weight; Cell Line; Chemoprevention; Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay; Escherichia coli; Feasibility Studies; Female; Humans; Immunization Schedule; Immunoglobulin G; Kidney; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Models, Animal; Molecular Sequence Data; Neutralization Tests; Sequence Homology, Amino Acid; Smallpox; Smallpox Vaccine; Vaccines, Attenuated; Vaccines, DNA; Vaccines, Subunit; Vaccinia virus; Variola virus; *Viral Vaccines


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Microbiology


The viral strain responsible for smallpox infection is variola major (VARV). As a result of the successful eradication of smallpox with the vaccinia virus (VACV), the general population is no longer required to receive a smallpox vaccine, and will have no protection against smallpox. This lack of immunity is a concern due to the potential for use of smallpox as a biological weapon. Considerable progress has been made in the development of subunit-based smallpox vaccines resulting from the identification of VACV protective antigens. It also offers the possibility of using antigens from VARV to formulate the next generation subunit-based smallpox vaccines. Here, we show that codon-optimized DNA vaccines expressing three VARV antigens (A30, B7 and F8) and their recombinant protein counterparts elicited high-titer, cross-reactive, VACV neutralizing antibody responses in mice. Vaccinated mice were protected from intraperitoneal and intranasal challenges with VACV. These results suggest the feasibility of a subunit smallpox vaccine based on VARV antigen sequences to induce immunity against poxvirus infection.

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Citation: Virology. 2008 Feb 5;371(1):98-107. Epub 2007 Oct 24. Link to article on publisher's site

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