Although seasonal vaccines are available, the influenza virus continues to be a major health burden due to its capacities to alter the antigenic epitopes of the main surface glycoprotein hemagglutinin, and its zoonotic nature, permitting transmission of novel animal viruses to humans to which the human population has no preexisting immunity. Although conserved epitopes have been identified among hemagglutinin subtypes, there is a fundamental gap in understanding and correlating the display of influenza hemagglutinin epitopes on nano-platforms with immunogenic success or failure in terms of developing broader spectrum seasonal vaccines and a universal influenza vaccine. Lack of such information represents important problems and until they are addressed optimal display of conserved epitopes cannot be understood in molecular details. In FY 2014, we have continued characterizing influenza viruses and epitopes on influenza hemagglutinin and have established significant milestones both in designing and structurally imaging nano-platforms presenting conserved regions of hemagglutinin. These results are significant and relevant to public health because it is expected to expand understanding of the structure and epitope disposition of influenza epitopes on nano-platforms that will aid immunogen design for universal influenza vaccines.

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