Rotavirus enterotoxin NSP4 has mucosal adjuvant properties

Owen V Kavanagh, Nadim J Ajami, Elly Cheng, Max Ciarlet, Roberto A Guerrero, Carl Q-Y Zeng, Sue E Crawford, Mary K Estes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Rotavirus nonstructural protein 4 (NSP4) is a protein with pleiotropic properties. It functions in rotavirus morphogenesis, pathogenesis, and is the first described viral enterotoxin. Since many bacterial toxins function as potent mucosal adjuvants, we evaluated whether baculovirus-expressed recombinant simian rotavirus SA11 NSP4 possesses adjuvant activity by co-administering NSP4 with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), tetanus toxoid (TT) or ovalbumin (OVA) as model antigens in mice. Following intranasal immunization, NSP4 significantly enhanced both systemic and mucosal immune responses to model immunogens, as compared to the control group, in an antigen-specific manner. Both full-length and a cleavage product of SA11 NSP4 had adjuvant activity, localizing this activity to the C-terminus of the protein. NSP4 forms from virulent and avirulent porcine rotavirus OSU strain, and SA11 NSP4 localized within a 2/6-virus-like particle (VLP) also exhibited adjuvant effects. These studies suggest that the rotavirus enterotoxin NSP4 can function as an adjuvant to enhance immune responses for a co-administered antigen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3106-11
Number of pages6
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Animals
  • Ovalbumin
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • Hemocyanin
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Mice
  • Antibodies
  • Tetanus Toxoid
  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Glycoproteins
  • Vaccines
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Female


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