Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Immunization of Mice with Virus-Like Vesicles of Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Reveals a Role for Antibodies Targeting ORF4 in Activating Complement-Mediated Neutralization


Infection by Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) can cause severe consequences, such as cancers and lymphoproliferative diseases. Whole inactivated viruses (WIV) with chemically destroyed genetic materials have been used as antigens in several licensed vaccines. During KSHV productive replication, virus-like vesicles (VLVs) that lack capsids and viral genomes are generated along with virions. Here, we investigated the immunogenicity of KSHV VLVs produced from a viral mutant that was defective in capsid formation and DNA packaging. Mice immunized with adjuvanted VLVs generated KSHV-specific T cell and antibody responses. Neutralization of KSHV infection by the VLV immune serum was low but was markedly enhanced in the presence of the complement system. Complement-enhanced neutralization and complement deposition on KSHV-infected cells was dependent on antibodies targeting viral open reading frame 4 (ORF4). However, limited complement-mediated enhancement was detected in the sera of a small cohort of KSHV-infected humans which contained few neutralizing antibodies. Therefore, vaccination that induces antibody effector functions can potentially improve infection-induced humoral immunity. Overall, our study highlights a potential benefit of engaging complement-mediated antibody functions in future KSHV vaccine development. IMPORTANCE KSHV is a virus that can lead to cancer after infection. A vaccine that prevents KSHV infection or transmission would be helpful in preventing the development of these cancers. We investigated KSHV VLV as an immunogen for vaccination. We determined that antibodies targeting the viral protein ORF4 induced by VLV immunization could engage the complement system and neutralize viral infection. However, ORF4-specific antibodies were seldom detected in the sera of KSHV-infected humans. Moreover, these human sera did not potently trigger complement-mediated neutralization, indicating an improvement that immunization can confer. Our study suggests a new antibody-mediated mechanism to control KSHV infection and underscores the benefit of activating the complement system in a future KSHV vaccine.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View