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A Modular Vaccine Development Platform Based on Sortase-Mediated Site-Specific Tagging of Antigens onto Virus-Like Particles

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      Virus-like particles (VLPs) can be used as powerful nanoscale weapons to fight against virus infection. In addition to direct use as vaccines, VLPs have been extensively exploited as platforms on which to display foreign antigens for prophylactic vaccination and immunotherapeutic treatment. Unfortunately, fabrication of new chimeric VLP vaccines in a versatile, site-specific and highly efficient manner is beyond the capability of traditional VLP vaccine design approaches, genetic insertion and chemical conjugation. In this study, we described a greatly improved VLP display strategy by chemoenzymatic site-specific tailoring antigens on VLPs surface with high efficiency. Through the transpeptidation mediated by sortase A, one protein and two epitopes containing N-terminal oligoglycine were conjugated to the LPET motif on the surface of hepatitis B virus core protein (HBc) VLPs with high density. All of the new chimeric VLPs induced strong specific IgG responses. Furthermore, the chimeric VLPs with sortase A tagged enterovirus 71 (EV71) SP70 epitope could elicit effective antibodies against EV71 lethal challenging as well as the genetic insertion chimeric VLPs. The sortase A mediated chemoenzymatic site-specific tailoring of the HBc VLP approach shows great potential in new VLP vaccine design for its simplicity, site specificity, high efficiency, and versatility.

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      Tricine-SDS-PAGE is commonly used to separate proteins in the mass range 1-100 kDa. It is the preferred electrophoretic system for the resolution of proteins smaller than 30 kDa. The concentrations of acrylamide used in the gels are lower than in other electrophoretic systems. These lower concentrations facilitate electroblotting, which is particularly crucial for hydrophobic proteins. Tricine-SDS-PAGE is also used preferentially for doubled SDS-PAGE (dSDS-PAGE), a proteomic tool used to isolate extremely hydrophobic proteins for mass spectrometric identification, and it offers advantages for resolution of the second dimension after blue-native PAGE (BN-PAGE) and clear-native PAGE (CN-PAGE). Here I describe a protocol for Tricine-SDS-PAGE, which includes efficient methods for Coomassie blue or silver staining and electroblotting, thereby increasing the versatility of the approach. This protocol can be completed in 1-2 d.
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        Vaccine delivery: a matter of size, geometry, kinetics and molecular patterns.

        Researchers working on the development of vaccines face an inherent dilemma: to maximize immunogenicity without compromising safety and tolerability. Early vaccines often induced long-lived protective immune responses, but tolerability was a major problem. Newer vaccines have very few side effects but can be of limited immunogenicity. One way to tackle this problem is to design vaccines that have all the properties of pathogens with the exception of causing disease. Key features of pathogens that can be mimicked by vaccine delivery systems are their size, shape and surface molecule organization. In addition, pathogen-associated molecular patterns can be used to induce innate immune responses that promote adaptive immunity. In this Review, we discuss the approaches currently being used to optimize the delivery of antigens and enhance vaccine efficacy.
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          Virus-like particles: passport to immune recognition.

          Virus-like particles (VLPs) are formed by the self-assembly of envelope and/or capsid proteins from many viruses. In many cases such VLPs have structural characteristics and antigenicity similar to the parental virus, and some have already proven successful as vaccines against the cognate virus infection. The structural components of some VLPs have also proven amenable to the insertion or fusion of foreign antigenic sequences, allowing the production of chimeric VLPs exposing the foreign antigen on their surface. Other VLPs have been used as carriers for foreign antigens, including non-protein antigens, via chemical conjugation. This review outlines some of the advantages, disadvantages, and technical considerations for the use of a wide range of VLP systems in vaccine development.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Unit of Herpesvirus and Molecular Virology, Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences , University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
            [2 ]Unit of Vaccinology and Antiviral Strategies, Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences , University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China
            Author notes
            Sci Rep
            Sci Rep
            Scientific Reports
            Nature Publishing Group
            12 May 2016
            : 6
            Copyright © 2016, Macmillan Publishers Limited

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