Protein ?-helical coiled coil structures that elicit antibody responses, which block critical functions of medically important microorganisms, represent a means for vaccine development. By using bioinformatics algorithms, a total of 50 antigens with ?-helical coiled coil motifs orthologous to Plasmodium falciparum were identified in the P. vivax genome. The peptides identified in silico were chemically synthesized; circular dichroism studies indicated partial or high ?-helical content. Antigenicity was evaluated using human sera samples from malaria-endemic areas of Colombia and Papua New Guinea. Eight of these fragments were selected and used to assess immunogenicity in BALB/c mice. ELISA assays indicated strong reactivity of serum samples from individuals residing in malaria-endemic regions and sera of immunized mice, with the ?-helical coiled coil structures. In addition, ex vivo production of IFN-? by murine mononuclear cells confirmed the immunogenicity of these structures and the presence of T-cell epitopes in the peptide sequences. Moreover, sera of mice immunized with four of the eight antigens recognized native proteins on blood-stage P. vivax parasites, and antigenic cross-reactivity with three of the peptides was observed when reacted with both the P. falciparum orthologous fragments and whole parasites. Results here point to the ?-helical coiled coil peptides as possible P. vivax malaria vaccine candidates as were observed for P. falciparum. Fragments selected here warrant further study in humans and non-human primate models to assess their protective efficacy as single components or assembled as hybrid linear epitopes.
This review describes the advances in malaria antigen discovery and vaccine development using the long synthetic peptide platforms that have been made available during the past 5 years. The most recent technical developments regarding peptide synthesis with the optimized production of large synthetic fragments are discussed. Clinical trials of long synthetic peptides are also reviewed. These trials demonstrated that long synthetic peptides are safe and immunogenic when formulated with various adjuvants. In addition, long synthetic peptides can elicit an antibody response in humans and have demonstrated inhibitory activity against parasite growth in vitro. Finally, new approaches to exploit the abundance of genomic data and the flexibility and speed of peptide synthesis are proposed.
DNA vaccination is a promising approach for inducing both humoral and cellular immune responses. The mode of plasmid DNA delivery is critical to make progress in DNA vaccination. Using human papillomavirus type 16 E7 as a model antigen, this study evaluated the effect of peptide-polymer hybrid including PEI600-Tat conjugate as a novel gene delivery system on the potency of antigen-specific immunity in mice model. At ratio of 10:50 PEI-Tat/E7DNA (w/w), both humoral and cellular immune responses were significantly enhanced as compared with E7DNA construct and induced Th1 response. Therefore, this new delivery system could have promising applications in gene therapy.
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