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BACKGROUND: Recombinant proteins and in particular single domains or peptides are often poorly immunogenic unless conjugated to a carrier protein. Virus-like-particles are a very efficient means to confer high immunogenicity to antigens. We report here the development of virus-like-particles (VLPs) derived from the RNA bacteriophage AP205 for epitope-based vaccines. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Peptides of angiotensin II, S.typhi outer membrane protein (D2), CXCR4 receptor, HIV1 Nef, gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), Influenza A M2-protein were fused to either N- or C-terminus of AP205 coat protein. The A205-peptide fusions assembled into VLPs, and peptides displayed on the VLP were highly immunogenic in mice. GnRH fused to the C-terminus of AP205 induced a strong antibody response that inhibited GnRH function in vivo. Exposure of the M2-protein peptide at the N-terminus of AP205 resulted in a strong M2-specific antibody response upon immunization, protecting 100% of mice from a lethal influenza infection. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: AP205 VLPs are therefore a very efficient and new vaccine system, suitable for complex and long epitopes, of up to at least 55 amino acid residues in length. AP205 VLPs confer a high immunogenicity to displayed epitopes, as shown by inhibition of endogenous GnRH and protective immunity against influenza infection.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0009809

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

23/03/2010

Volume

5

Keywords

Animals, Cloning, Molecular, Epitopes, Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Peptides, Protein Structure, Tertiary, RNA Phages, Recombinant Proteins, Vaccination, Virion