A Novel Targeted RIG-I Receptor 5’Triphosphate Double Strain RNA-Based Adjuvant Significantly Improves the Immunogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta-Omicron Chimeric RBD-Dimer Recombinant Protein Vaccine
The rapid mutation and spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants recently, especially through the emerging variants Omicron BA5, BF7, XBB and BQ1, necessitate the development of universal vaccines to provide broad spectrum protection against variants. For the SARS-CoV-2 universal recombinant protein vaccines, an effective approach is necessary to design broad-spectrum antigens and combine them with novel adjuvants that can induce high immunogenicity. In this study, we designed a novel targeted retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) receptor 5’triphosphate double strain RNA (5’PPP dsRNA)-based vaccine adjuvant (named AT149) and combined it with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron chimeric RBD-dimer recombinant protein (D-O RBD) to immunize mice. The results showed that AT149 activated the P65 NF-κB signaling pathway, which subsequently activated the interferon signal pathway by targeting the RIG-I receptor. The D-O RBD + AT149 and D-O RBD + aluminum hydroxide adjuvant (Al) + AT149 groups showed elevated levels of neutralizing antibodies against the authentic Delta variant, and Omicron subvariants, BA1, BA5, and BF7, pseudovirus BQ1.1, and XBB compared with D-O RBD + Al and D-O RBD + Al + CpG7909/Poly (I:C) groups at 14 d after the second immunization, respectively. In addition, D-O RBD + AT149 and D-O RBD + Al + AT149 groups presented higher levels of the T-cell-secreted IFN-γ immune response. Overall, we designed a novel targeted RIG-I receptor 5’PPP dsRNA-based vaccine adjuvant to significantly improve the immunogenicity and broad spectrum of the SARS-CoV-2 recombinant protein vaccine.
Keywords: immunogenicity; recombinant protein vaccine; retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-I) receptor; vaccine adjuvant.