Ebolaviruses Zaire (EBOV), Bundibugyo (BDBV), and Sudan (SUDV) cause human disease with high case fatality rates. Experimental monovalent vaccines, which all utilize the sole envelope glycoprotein (GP), do not protect against heterologous ebolaviruses. Human parainfluenza virus type 3-vectored vaccines offer benefits, including needle-free administration and induction of mucosal responses in the respiratory tract. Multiple approaches were taken to induce broad protection against the three ebolaviruses. While GP consensus-based antigens failed to elicit neutralizing antibodies, polyvalent vaccine immunization induced neutralizing responses to all three ebolaviruses and protected animals from death and disease caused by EBOV, SUDV, and BDBV. As immunization with a cocktail of antigenically related antigens can skew the responses and change the epitope hierarchy, we performed comparative analysis of antibody repertoire and Fc-mediated protective mechanisms in animals immunized with monovalent versus polyvalent vaccines. Compared to sera from guinea pigs receiving the monovalent vaccines, sera from guinea pigs receiving the trivalent vaccine bound and neutralized EBOV and SUDV at equivalent levels and BDBV at only a slightly reduced level. Peptide microarrays revealed a preponderance of binding to amino acids 389 to 403, 397 to 415, and 477 to 493, representing three linear epitopes in the mucin-like domain known to induce a protective antibody response. Competition binding assays with monoclonal antibodies isolated from human ebolavirus infection survivors demonstrated that the immune sera block the binding of antibodies specific for the GP glycan cap, the GP1-GP2 interface, the mucin-like domain, and the membrane-proximal external region. Thus, administration of a cocktail of three ebolavirus vaccines induces a desirable broad antibody response, without skewing of the response toward preferential recognition of a single virus. The symptoms of the disease caused by the ebolaviruses Ebola, Bundibugyo, and Sudan are similar, and their areas of endemicity overlap. However, because of the limited antigenic relatedness of the ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP) used in all candidate vaccines against these viruses, they protect only against homologous and not against heterologous ebolaviruses. Therefore, a broadly specific pan-ebolavirus vaccine is required, and this might be achieved by administration of a cocktail of vaccines. The effects of cocktail administration of ebolavirus vaccines on the antibody repertoire remain unknown. Here, an in-depth analysis of the antibody responses to administration of a cocktail of human parainfluenza virus type 3-vectored vaccines against individual ebolaviruses was performed, which included analysis of binding to GP, neutralization of individual ebolaviruses, epitope specificity, Fc-mediated functions, and protection against the three ebolaviruses. The results demonstrated potent and balanced responses against individual ebolaviruses and no significant reduction of the responses compared to that induced by individual vaccines.
Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.