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This is the authors' final accepted manuscript version of the article from the journal Molecular Therapy, 2021 Sep 1;29(9):2769-2781.

The final published version of the article can be found on the journal's website:


It is well established that memory CD8 T cells protect susceptible strains of mice from mousepox, a lethal viral disease caused by ectromelia virus (ECTV), the murine counterpart to human variola virus. While mRNA vaccines induce protective antibody (Ab) responses, it is unknown whether they also induce protective memory CD8 T cells. We now show that immunization with different doses of unmodified or N(1)-methylpseudouridine-modified mRNA (modified mRNA) in lipid nanoparticles (LNP) encoding the ECTV gene EVM158 induced similarly strong CD8 T cell responses to the epitope TSYKFESV, albeit unmodified mRNA-LNP had adverse effects at the inoculation site. A single immunization with 10 μg modified mRNA-LNP protected most susceptible mice from mousepox, and booster vaccination increased the memory CD8 T cell pool, providing full protection. Moreover, modified mRNA-LNP encoding TSYKFESV appended to green fluorescent protein (GFP) protected against wild-type ECTV infection while lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus glycoprotein (GP) modified mRNA-LNP protected against ECTV expressing GP epitopes. Thus, modified mRNA-LNP can be used to create protective CD8 T cell-based vaccines against viral infections.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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