We report the immunogenicity of three dendrimeric peptide vaccine candidates for classical swine fever virus (CSFV). Each dendrimeric construct contained four copies of a B-cell epitope from the E2 glycoprotein of CSFV [construct 1: E2 (694-712); 2: E2 (712-727); 3: E2 (829-842)] joined to a T-cell epitope from the NS3 protein (residues 1446-1460). Intramuscular immunization of domestic pigs with the different constructs significantly reduced the clinical score after lethal challenge with CSFV. In contrast, control pigs developed severe clinical signs of the disease. All pigs vaccinated with construct 1, containing a B-cell epitope from the E2 B-C domain, developed an antibody response that recognized not only the original dendrimeric immunogen but also its constituting E2 epitope in linear form, albeit no neutralizing antibodies were detected prior to viral challenge. Two of these pigs were partially protected, which associated with the induction of IFN-γ producing cells and of neutralizing antibodies upon challenge. Interestingly, the serological response elicited by construct 1 lacked antibodies to E2 A domain, used as infection markers. The dendrimeric approach could therefore provide a basis for the development of CSFV marker (DIVA) vaccines, and contribute to a better understanding of the immune responses against CSFV. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
- Cellular and humoral immune response
- Classical swine fever virus
- Dendrimeric peptide vaccine
- Marker (DIVA) vaccine