Recombinant Hepatitis E virus like particles can function as RNA nanocarriers

Subrat Kumar Panda, Neeraj Kapur, Daizy Paliwal, Hemlata Durgapal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Assembled virus-like particles (VLPs) without genetic material, with structure similar to infectious virions, have been successfully used as vaccines. We earlier described in vitro assembly, characterisation and tissue specific receptor dependent Clathrin mediated entry of empty HEV VLPs, produced from Escherichia coli expressed HEV capsid protein (pORF2). Similar VLP's have been described as a potential candidate vaccine (Hecolin) against HEV. Findings: We have attempted to use such recombinant assembled Hepatitis E virus (HEV) VLPs as a carrier for heterologous RNA with protein coding sequence fused in-frame with HEV 5' region (containing cap and encapsidation signal) and investigated, if the relevant protein could be expressed and elicit an immune response in vivo. In vitro transcribed red fluorescent protein (RFP)/Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) RNA, fused to 5'-HEV sequence with cap and encapsidation signal (1-249 nt), was packaged into the recombinant HEV-VLPs and incubated with five different cell lines (Huh7, A549, Vero, HeLa and SiHa). The pORF2-VLPs could specifically transfer exogenous coding RNA into Huh7 and A549 cells. In vivo, Balb/c mice were immunized (intramuscular injections) with 100μg pORF2-VLP encapsidated with 5'-methyl-G-HEV (1-249nt)-HBsAg RNA, blood samples were collected and screened by ELISA for anti-pORF2 and anti-HBsAg antibodies. Humoral immune response could be elicited in Balb/c mice against both HEV capsid protein and cargo RNA encoded HBsAg protein. Conclusions: These findings suggest that other than being a possible vaccine, HEV pORF2-VLPs can be used as a promising non-replicative tissue specific gene delivery system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number44
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 24 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Panda et al. 2015.


  • Chimeric RNA
  • HBsAg
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • RNA-VLP complex
  • Virus like particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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