Adjuvant-free immunization with hemagglutinin-Fc fusion proteins as an approach to influenza vaccines
The hemagglutinins (HAs) of human H1 and H3 influenza viruses and avian H5 influenza virus were produced as recombinant fusion proteins with the human immunoglobulin Fc domain. Recombinant HA-human immunoglobulin Fc domain (HA-HuFc) proteins were secreted from baculovirus-infected insect cells as glycosylated oligomer HAs of the anticipated molecular mass, agglutinated red blood cells, were purified on protein A, and were used to immunize mice in the absence of adjuvant. Immunogenicity was demonstrated for all subtypes, with the serum samples demonstrating subtype-specific hemagglutination inhibition, epitope specificity similar to that seen with virus infection, and neutralization. HuFc-tagged HAs are potential candidates for gene-to-vaccine approaches to influenza vaccination.