The basic concept of virosomes is the controlled in vitro assembly of virus-like particles from purified components. The first generation of influenza virosomes developed two decades ago is successfully applied in licensed vaccines, providing a solid clinical safety and efficacy track record for the technology. In the meantime, a second generation of influenza virosomes has evolved as a carrier and adjuvant system, which is currently applied in preclinical and clinical stage vaccine candidates targeting various prophylactic and therapeutic indications. The inclusion of additional components to optimize particle assembly, to stabilize the formulations, or to enhance the immunostimulatory properties have further improved and broadened the applicability of the platform.
Mucosal immunization offers the promises of eliciting a systemic and mucosal immune response, as well as enhanced patient compliance. Mucosal vaccination using defined antigens such as proteins and peptides requires delivery systems that combine good safety profiles with strong immunogenicity, which may be provided by virus-like particles (VLP). VLP are assembled from viral structural proteins and thus are devoid of any genetic material. They excel by mimicking natural pathogens, therefore providing antigen-protecting particulate nature, inherent immune-cell stimulatory mechanisms, and tissue-specific targeting depending on their parental virus. Nevertheless, despite of promising preclinical results, VLP remain rarely investigated in clinical studies. This review is intended to give an overview of obstacles and promises of VLP-based mucosal immunization as well as to identify strategies to further improve VLP while maintaining a good safety and tolerability profile.
Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) has an important role not only in glycolysis but also in nonmetabolic processes, including transcription activation and apoptosis. We report the isolation of a human GAPDH (hGAPDH) (2-32) fragment peptide from human placental tissue exhibiting antimicrobial activity. The peptide was internalized by cells of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans and initiated a rapid apoptotic mechanism, leading to killing of the fungus. Killing was dose-dependent, with 10??g?ml (3.1??M) and 100??g?ml hGAPDH (2-32) depolarizing 45% and 90% of the fungal cells in a population, respectively. Experimental C. albicans infection induced epithelial hGAPDH (2-32) expression. Addition of the peptide significantly reduced the tissue damage as compared with untreated experimental infection. Secreted aspartic proteinase (Sap) activity of C. albicans was inhibited by the fragment at higher concentrations, with a median effective dose of 160?mg?l(-1) (50??M) for Sap1p and 200?mg?l(-1) (63??M) for Sap2p, whereas Sap3 was not inhibited at all. Interestingly, hGAPDH (2-32) induced significant epithelial IL-8 and GM-CSF secretion and stimulated Toll-like receptor 4 expression at low concentrations independently of the presence of C. albicans, without any toxic mucosal effects. In the future, the combination of different antifungal strategies, e.g., a conventional fungicidal with immunomodulatory effects and the inhibition of fungal virulence factors, might be a promising treatment option.
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