Transcriptomic profiling of dromedary camels immunised with a mers vaccine candidate
Hala S., Ribeca P., Aljami HA., Alsagaby SA., Qasim I., Gilbert SC., Alharbi NK.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infects dromedary camels and zoonotically infects humans, causing a respiratory disease with severe pneumonia and death. With no approved antiviral or vaccine interventions for MERS, vaccines are being developed for camels to prevent virus transmission into humans. We have previously developed a chimpanzee adenoviral vector-based vaccine for MERS-CoV (ChAdOx1 MERS) and reported its strong humoral immunogenicity in dromedary camels. Here, we looked back at total RNA isolated from whole blood of three immunised dromedaries pre and post-vaccination during the first day; and performed RNA sequencing and bioinformatic analysis in order to shed light on the molecular immune responses following a ChAdOx1 MERS vaccination. Our finding shows that a number of transcripts were differentially regulated as an effect of the vaccination, including genes that are involved in innate and adaptive immunity, such as type I and II interferon responses. The camel Bcl-3 and Bcl-6 transcripts were significantly upregulated, indicating a strong activation of Tfh cell, B cell, and NF-κB pathways. In conclusion, this study gives an overall view of the first changes in the immune transcriptome of dromedaries after vaccination; it supports the potency of ChAdOx1 MERS as a potential camel vaccine to block transmission and prevent new human cases and outbreaks.