Dra. Nerea Roher and Dr. A Villaverde: Nanostructured recombinant protein particles raise specific antibodies against the nodavirus NNV coat protein in sole



We test a nanoparticle vaccine made of nodavirus RGNNV/SJNNV coat protein in sole.

Oral and i.p. delivery routes were compared via antibody and gene expression data.

Injection without adjuvant triggered a strong systemic specific antibody response.

Oral intubation evoked mainly a mucosal immune response.

Nanoparticle VNNV-CNP is immunogenic in S. senegalensis juveniles.


Nervous necrosis virus (NNV) reassortant strains RGNNV/SJNNV have emerged as a potent threat to the Mediterranean marine aquaculture industry, causing viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) in Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis). In this study, a cheap and practical vaccine strategy using bacterial inclusion bodies made of the coat protein of a virulent reassortant strain of this betanodavirus was devised. The nanostructured recombinant protein nanoparticles, VNNV-CNP, were administered without adjuvant to two groups of juvenile sole, one by intraperitoneal injection and the other by oral intubation. Specific antibodies were raised in vivo against the NNV coat protein via both routes, with a substantial specific antibody expansion in the injected group 30 days post homologous prime boost. Expression levels of five adaptive immune-related genes, cd8a, cd4, igm, igt and arg2, were also quantified in intestine, spleen and head kidney. Results showed cd4 and igm were upregulated in the head kidney of injected fish, indicating activation of an adaptive systemic response, while intubated fish exhibited a mucosal response in the intestine. Neither route showed significant differential expression of cd8a. The specific antibody response elicited in vivo and the lack of any signs of toxicity over the 6-week study period in young fish (n = 100), evidences the potential of the nanoparticle as a vaccine candidate.