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Vaccination induced antibodies to recombinant avian influenza a virus M2 protein or synthetic M2e peptide do not bind to the M2 protein on the virus or virus infected cells.

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    Rights statement: © 2013 Swinkels et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number206
JournalVirology Journal
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Background: Influenza viruses are characterized by their highly variable surface proteins HA and NA. The third
surface protein M2 is a nearly invariant protein in all Influenza A strains. Despite extensive studies in other animal
models, this study is the first to describe the use of recombinant M2 protein and a peptide coding for the
extracellular part of the M2 protein (M2e) to vaccinate poultry.
Methods: Four groups of layer chickens received a prime-boost vaccination with recombinant M2 protein, M2e, a
tetrameric construct from M2e peptide bound to streptavidin and a control tetrameric construct formulated with
Stimune adjuvant.
Results: We determined the M2-specific antibody (Ab) responses in the serum before vaccination, three weeks after
vaccination and two weeks after booster, at days 21, 42 and 56 of age. The group vaccinated with the M2 protein
in combination with Stimune adjuvant showed a significant Ab response to the complete M2 protein as compared
to the other groups. In addition an increased Ab response to M2e peptide was found in the group vaccinated with
the M2e tetrameric construct. None of the vaccinated animals showed seroconversion to AI in a commercial ELISA.
Finally no Ab’s were found that bound to M2 expressed on in vitro AI infected MDCK cells.
Conclusion: Although Ab’s are formed against the M2 protein and to Streptavidin bound M2e peptide in a
tetrameric conformation these Ab’s do not recognize of M2 on the virus or on infected cells.
Keywords: Influenza, Chicken, M2, Peptide Vaccination

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