Immunological Evaluation of Lipopeptide Group A Streptococcus (GAS) Vaccine: Structure-Activity Relationship
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Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus, GAS) is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen responsible for a wide variety of diseases. To date, GAS vaccine development has focused primarily on the M-protein. The M-protein is highly variable at the amino (N)-terminus (determining serotype) but is conserved at the carboxyl (C)-terminus. Previously a 29 amino acid peptide (named J14) from the conserved region of the M-protein was identified as a potential vaccine candidate. J14 was capable of eliciting protective antibodies that recognized many GAS serotypes when co-administered with immuno-stimulants. This minimal epitope however showed no immunogenicity when administered alone. In an attempt overcome this immunological non-responsiveness, we developed a self-adjuvanting vaccine candidate composed of three components: the B-cell epitope (J14), a universal helper T-cell epitope (P25) and a lipid moiety consisting of lipoamino acids (Laas) which target Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2). Immunological evaluation in B10.BR (H-2k) mice demonstrated that the epitope attachment to the point of lipid moiety, and the length of the Laa alkyl chain have a profound effect on vaccine immunogenicity after intranasal administration. It was demonstrated that a vaccine featuring C-terminal lipid moiety containing alkyl chains of 16 carbons, with P25 located at the N-terminus, and J14 attached to the side chain of a central lysine residue was capable of inducing optimal antibody response. These findings have considerable relevance to the development of a broad spectrum J14-based GAS vaccine and in particular provided a rational basis for peptide vaccine design based on this self-adjuvanting lipopeptide technology.
© 2012 Zaman et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CCAL. (http://www.plos.org/journals/license.html)