Molecular and immunological aspects of the prevention of measles virus infections
Project management at the University of Würzburg:
Morbidity and mortality rates associated with measles virus infections are still high, particularly in Third World countries. In addition, reoccurrence of measles epidemics in industrialised countries with a high vaccine coverage, clearly indicated that the current vaccine and vaccination strategy may not lead to a complete immune activation and not induce life-long immunity to reinfection. Thus, there is a need for the development of new and safe live vaccines for efficient prevention of MV-associated disease and for a more detailed understanding of what contributes to the induction of protective immunity on a molecular level. The protective immunity generated by recombinant Samonella based vectors expressing MV N, F and H genes in both mice and cotton rats and its efficacy upon MV challenge is analysed particularly with respect to their efficiency in the presence of maternal antibodies. The second aspect of the grant proposal focusses on the role of peripheral dendritic cells (DCs) as professional antigen presenters. These cells are likely to play a central role in MV-specific immune activation by catching viral antigen in the periphery, homing to the lymph nodes and initiating cellular immune responses. This project aims to define differences between MV wild-type and vaccine strains in their ability to infect DCs and to trigger their functional maturation.
Projekt period: from 04.1997 to 06.2000