Peter Liljeström Group

Vaccines and Immunity

We are developing new vaccines against infectious diseases and are studying the immune mechanisms underlying protective immune responses. In this context we study both innate and adaptive immune responses generated by various types of vaccines. We also build vehicles for use in vaccination and here one of our most central vaccine technology is our in-house developed alphavirus replicon system based on Semliki Forest virus (SFV). This has allowed us to design different kinds of vaccines using SFV as a general replicon vaccine platform where vaccines can be delivered as naked DNA or RNA or as viral particles.

We have studied how incorporation of innate receptor ligands such as FliC (TLR5) affects the immune response and how they modulate the quantity and quality of the response. We have also combined different vaccine technologies in so called prime-boost regimens in order to optimise the immune responses to various antigens. We have found that there are significant differences between viral vector vaccines, in particular how these vaccines generate responses in terms of quality, memory and recall capacity.

In the area of HIV / AIDS we have participated in the development of novel vaccine candidates, some of which have already entered clinical trials. These vaccine candidates include DNAs (conventional and replicon DNAs) as well as poxvirus and adenovirus vectors. We currently are involved in a study that also includes trimeric gp140 Env antigen combined with a state-of-the-art adjuvant in prime-boost regimens.

Since two years we are part of a larger EU research network involved in creating a European platform for chikungunya virus (CHIKV) research and development. The main role and responsibility of our group in this network is to develop a human vaccine against chikungunya infection. Here we again are able to implement our long-standing knowledge of since SFV and CHIKV are very closely related alphaviruses. Preliminary characterisations and vaccine testing has already been done and we are presently moving the study into non-human primates with the aim of being able to move the most promising vaccine candidate into clinical trials.

In the area of influenza we have pursued to different projects. In the first one, which involved infection of ferrets with different isolates of pandemic influenza H1N1, we were able to show that host gene expression signatures could discriminate between the infecting strains. The work entailed de-novo transcriptome sequencing. In the second quite different project we are studying, in an animal model, what effects infection by influenza has on the brain and possibly how the immune system may contribute to development of narcolepsy by destroying the orexin producing neurons.

Contact Address

Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology
Karolinska Institutet
P.O. Box 280 (mail)
Nobels Väg 16 (visitors)
S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden


T- and B-cell responses to multivalent prime-boost DNA and viral vectored vaccine combinations against hepatitis C virus in non-human primates.
Rollier C, Verschoor E, Verstrepen B, Drexhage J, Paranhos-Baccala G, Liljeström P, et al
Gene Ther. 2016 Oct;23(10):753-759

H1N1 influenza virus induces narcolepsy-like sleep disruption and targets sleep-wake regulatory neurons in mice.
Tesoriero C, Codita A, Zhang M, Cherninsky A, Karlsson H, Grassi-Zucconi G, et al
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016 Jan;113(3):E368-77

A coordinated cross-disciplinary research initiative to address an increased incidence of narcolepsy following the 2009-2010 Pandemrix vaccination programme in Sweden.
Feltelius N, Persson I, Ahlqvist-Rastad J, Andersson M, Arnheim-Dahlström L, Bergman P, et al
J. Intern. Med. 2015 Oct;278(4):335-53

Humoral responses to HIVconsv induced by heterologous vaccine modalities in rhesus macaques.
Borthwick N, Rosario M, Schiffner T, Bowles E, Ahmed T, Liljeström P, et al
Immun Inflamm Dis 2015 Jun;3(2):82-93

Modification of a salmonid alphavirus replicon vector for enhanced expression of heterologous antigens.
Guo T, Johansson D, Liljeström P, Evensen , Haugland
J. Gen. Virol. 2015 Mar;96(Pt 3):565-70

Alphavirus replicon DNA expressing HIV antigens is an excellent prime for boosting with recombinant modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) or with HIV gp140 protein antigen.
Knudsen M, Ljungberg K, Tatoud R, Weber J, Esteban M, Liljeström P
PLoS ONE 2015 ;10(2):e0117042

Self-replicating alphavirus RNA vaccines.
Ljungberg K, Liljeström P
Expert Rev Vaccines 2015 Feb;14(2):177-94

Modification of a salmonid alphavirus replicon vector for enhanced expression of heterologous antigens.
Guo T, Johansson D, Liljeström P, Evensen , Haugland
J. Gen. Virol. 2015 Mar;96(Pt 3):565-70

Self-replicating alphavirus RNA vaccines.
Ljungberg K, Liljeström P
Expert Rev Vaccines 2015 Feb;14(2):177-94

Prime-boost immunization strategies against Chikungunya virus.
Hallengärd D, Lum F, Kümmerer B, Lulla A, Lulla V, García-Arriaza J, et al
J. Virol. 2014 Nov;88(22):13333-43

Kinetic and phenotypic analysis of CD8+ T cell responses after priming with alphavirus replicons and homologous or heterologous booster immunizations.
Knudsen M, Ljungberg K, Kakoulidou M, Kostic L, Hallengärd D, García-Arriaza J, et al
J. Virol. 2014 Nov;88(21):12438-51

Novel attenuated Chikungunya vaccine candidates elicit protective immunity in C57BL/6 mice.
Hallengärd D, Kakoulidou M, Lulla A, Kümmerer B, Johansson D, Mutso M, et al
J. Virol. 2014 Mar;88(5):2858-66

The adjuvant activity of alphavirus replicons is enhanced by incorporating the microbial molecule flagellin into the replicon.
Knudsen M, Johansson D, Kostic L, Nordström E, Tegerstedt K, Pasetto A, et al
PLoS ONE 2013 ;8(6):e65964

Host gene expression signatures discriminate between ferrets infected with genetically similar H1N1 strains.
Ljungberg K, McBrayer A, Camp J, Chu Y, Tapp R, Noah D, et al
PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(7):e40743

De-novo transcriptome sequencing of a normalized cDNA pool from influenza infected ferrets.
Camp J, Svensson T, McBrayer A, Jonsson C, Liljeström P, Bruder C
PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(5):e37104

Differential impact of interferon regulatory factor 7 in initiation of the type I interferon response in the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus-infected central nervous system versus the periphery.
Christensen J, Fenger C, Issazadeh-Navikas S, Krug A, Liljestrøm P, Goriely S, et al
J. Virol. 2012 Jul;86(13):7384-92

Superior induction of T cell responses to conserved HIV-1 regions by electroporated alphavirus replicon DNA compared to that with conventional plasmid DNA vaccine.
Knudsen M, Mbewe-Mvula A, Rosario M, Johansson D, Kakoulidou M, Bridgeman A, et al
J. Virol. 2012 Apr;86(8):4082-90

Intradermal electroporation of naked replicon RNA elicits strong immune responses.
Johansson D, Ljungberg K, Kakoulidou M, Liljeström P
PLoS ONE 2012 ;7(1):e29732

Safety and immunogenicity of a modified pox vector-based HIV/AIDS vaccine candidate expressing Env, Gag, Pol and Nef proteins of HIV-1 subtype B (MVA-B) in healthy HIV-1-uninfected volunteers: A phase I clinical trial (RISVAC02).
García F, Bernaldo de Quirós J, Gómez C, Perdiguero B, Nájera J, Jiménez V, et al
Vaccine 2011 Oct;29(46):8309-16

Role of innate signalling pathways in the immunogenicity of alphaviral replicon-based vaccines.
Näslund T, Kostic L, Nordström E, Chen M, Liljeström P
Virol. J. 2011 Jan;8():36


Publications 1990-2010

Publications 2004-2010 (pdf)

Publications 1990-2003 (Pdf file, 87 Kb)

Group Members


Peter Liljeström

Phone: 08-524 859 90
Organizational unit: Peter Liljeström group

Inga SzurgotPostdoc
Karl LjungbergSenior lab manager
Peter LiljeströmProfessor
Pontus ÖhlundResearch assistant
Stephanie van de WallAssociated