MCMV-based vaccine vectors expressing full-length viral proteins provide long-term humoral immune protection upon a single-shot vaccination

Yeonsu Kim, Xiaoyan Zheng, Kathrin Eschke, M. Zeeshan Chaudhry, Federico Bertoglio, Adriana Tomić, Astrid Krmpotić, Markus Hoffmann, Yotam Bar-On, Julia Boehme, Dunja Bruder, Thomas Ebensen, Linda Brunotte, Stephan Ludwig, Martin Messerle, Carlos Guzman, Ofer Mandelboim, Michael Hust, Stefan Pöhlmann, Stipan JonjićLuka Čičin-Šain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Global pandemics caused by influenza or coronaviruses cause severe disruptions to public health and lead to high morbidity and mortality. There remains a medical need for vaccines against these pathogens. CMV (cytomegalovirus) is a β-herpesvirus that induces uniquely robust immune responses in which remarkably large populations of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells are maintained for a lifetime. Hence, CMV has been proposed and investigated as a novel vaccine vector for expressing antigenic peptides or proteins to elicit protective cellular immune responses against numerous pathogens. We generated two recombinant murine CMV (MCMV) vaccine vectors expressing hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza A virus (MCMVHA) or the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (MCMVS). A single injection of MCMVs expressing either viral protein induced potent neutralizing antibody responses, which strengthened over time. Importantly, MCMVHA-vaccinated mice were protected from illness following challenge with the influenza virus, and we excluded that this protection was due to the effects of memory T cells. Conclusively, we show here that MCMV vectors induce not only long-term cellular immunity but also humoral responses that provide long-term immune protection against clinically relevant respiratory pathogens.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalCellular and Molecular Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Influenza
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccine vector
  • humoral imunity


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