286 results found
McKay PF, Hu K, Blakney AK, et al., 2020, Self-amplifying RNA SARS-CoV-2 lipid nanoparticle vaccine candidate induces high neutralizing antibody titers in mice, Nature Communications, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2041-1723
The spread of the SARS-CoV-2 into a global pandemic within a few months of onset motivates the development of a rapidly scalable vaccine. Here, we present a self-amplifying RNA encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein encapsulated within a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) as a vaccine. We observe remarkably high and dose-dependent SARS-CoV-2 specific antibody titers in mouse sera, as well as robust neutralization of both a pseudo-virus and wild-type virus. Upon further characterization we find that the neutralization is proportional to the quantity of specific IgG and of higher magnitude than recovered COVID-19 patients. saRNA LNP immunizations induce a Th1-biased response in mice, and there is no antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) observed. Finally, we observe high cellular responses, as characterized by IFN-γ production, upon re-stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptides. These data provide insight into the vaccine design and evaluation of immunogenicity to enable rapid translation to the clinic.
Aldon Y, Kratochvil S, Shattock R, et al., 2020, Chemokine-adjuvanted plasmid DNA induces homing of antigen-specific and non-Antigen-specific B and T cells to the intestinal and genital mucosae, Journal of Immunology, ISSN: 0022-1767
Plasmid DNA is a promising vaccine platform that together with electroporation can elicit significant systemic antibody responses, however immunity at mucosal sites remains low. Here, we sought to program T and B cells to home to the gastro-intestinal and vaginal mucosa using genetic chemokine adjuvants and assessed their impact on immune homeostasis in various distinct immune compartments. Balb/c mice were immunized intramuscularly with plasmid DNA encoding a model antigen HIV-1 Env gp140 (gp140) and selected chemokines/cytokine and boosted intravaginally with gp140 recombinant protein. Isolated splenocytes, intestinal and genital lymphocytes as well as serum and intestinal luminal contents were assessed for antigen-specific reactivity. In addition, flow cytometric analysis was performed to determine the impact on immune homeostasis at these sites. Different molecular chemokine/cytokine adjuvants effected significant alterations to the recruitment of B and T cells to the spleen, vaginal and intestinal mucosae, for example CCL25 enhanced splenic and vaginal antigen-specific T cell responses while CCL28 increased the levels of specific T cells only in the vaginal mucosa. The levels of antibody could be modulated in the systemic circulation, as well as the vaginal vault and intestinal lumen, with CCL20 playing a central role. Our data demonstrate that the CCL20, CCL25 and CCL28 genetic chemokine adjuvants enhance the vaccine antigen-specific humoral and cellular responses and induce homing to the intestinal and female genital mucosae.
Haidari G, Day S, Wood M, et al., 2019, The safety and immunogenicity of GTU (R) MultiHIV DNA vaccine delivered by transcutaneous and intramuscular injection with or without electroporation in HIV-1 positive subjects on suppressive ART, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 1664-3224
Previous studies have shown targeting different tissues via the transcutaneous (TC) and intramuscular injection (IM) with or without electroporation (EP) has the potential to trigger immune responses to DNA vaccination. The CUTHIVTHER 001 Phase I/II randomized controlled clinical trial was designed to determine whether the mode of DNA vaccination delivery (TC+IM or EP+IM) could influence the quality and function of induced cellular immune responses compared to placebo, in an HIV positive clade B cohort on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The GTU®MultiHIV B DNA vaccine DNA vaccine encoded a MultiHIV B clade fusion protein to target the cellular response. Overall the vaccine and regimens were safe and well-tolerated. There were robust pre-vaccination IFN-γ responses with no measurable change following vaccination compared to placebo. However, modest intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) responses were seen in the TC+IM group. A high proportion of individuals demonstrated potent viral inhibition at baseline that was not improved by vaccination. These results show that HIV positive subjects with nadir CD4+ counts ≥250 on suppressive ART display potent levels of cellular immunity and viral inhibition, and that DNA vaccination alone is insufficient to improve such responses. These data suggest that more potent prime-boost vaccination strategies are likely needed to improve pre-existing responses in similar HIV-1 cohorts (This study has been registered at http://ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT02457689).
Fu M, Hu K, Hu H, et al., 2019, Antigenicity and immunogenicity of HIV-1 gp140 with different combinations of glycan mutation and V1/V2 region or V3 crown deletion, VACCINE, Vol: 37, Pages: 7501-7508, ISSN: 0264-410X
Abraham S, Juel HB, Bang P, et al., 2019, Safety and immunogenicity of the chlamydia vaccine candidate CTH522 adjuvanted with CAF01 liposomes or aluminium hydroxide: a first-in-human, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 trial, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol: 19, Pages: 1091-1100, ISSN: 1473-3099
BACKGROUND: Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection worldwide. National screening programmes and antibiotic treatment have failed to decrease incidence, and to date no vaccines against genital chlamydia have been tested in clinical trials. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity, in humans, of a novel chlamydia vaccine based on a recombinant protein subunit (CTH522) in a prime-boost immunisation schedule. METHODS: This phase 1, first-in-human, double-blind, parallel, randomised, placebo-controlled trial was done at Hammersmith Hospital in London, UK, in healthy women aged 19-45 years. Participants were randomly assigned (3:3:1) to three groups: CTH522 adjuvanted with CAF01 liposomes (CTH522:CAF01), CTH522 adjuvanted with aluminium hydroxide (CTH522:AH), or placebo (saline). Participants received three intramuscular injections of 85 μg vaccine (with adjuvant) or placebo to the deltoid region of the arm at 0, 1, and 4 months, followed by two intranasal administrations of 30 μg unadjuvanted vaccine or placebo (one in each nostril) at months 4·5 and 5·0. The primary outcome was safety and the secondary outcome was humoral immunogenicity (anti-CTH522 IgG seroconversion). This study is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, number NCT02787109. FINDINGS: Between Aug 15, 2016, and Feb 13, 2017, 35 women were randomly assigned (15 to CTH522:CAF01, 15 to CTH522:AH, and five to placebo). 32 (91%) received all five vaccinations and all participants were included in the intention-to-treat analyses. No related serious adverse reactions were reported, and the most frequent adverse events were mild local injection-site reactions, which were reported in all (15 [100%] of 15) participants in the two vaccine groups and in three (60%) of five participants in the placebo group (p=0·0526 for both comparisons). Intranasal vaccination was not associated with a higher frequency of related local reactions (reported in seven [47%]
Blakney AK, McKay PF, Yus BI, et al., 2019, Inside out: optimization of lipid nanoparticle formulations for exterior complexation and in vivo delivery of saRNA, Gene Therapy, Vol: 26, Pages: 363-372, ISSN: 0969-7128
Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is a promising biotherapeutic tool that has been used as a vaccine against both infectious diseases and cancer. saRNA has been shown to induce protein expression for up to 60 days and elicit immune responses with lower dosing than messenger RNA (mRNA). Because saRNA is a large (~9500 nt), negatively charged molecule, it requires a delivery vehicle for efficient cellular uptake and degradation protection. Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have been widely used for RNA formulations, where the prevailing paradigm is to encapsulate RNA within the particle, including the first FDA-approved small-interfering siRNA therapy. Here, we compared LNP formulations with cationic and ionizable lipids with saRNA either on the interior or exterior of the particle. We show that LNPs formulated with cationic lipids protect saRNA from RNAse degradation, even when it is adsorbed to the surface. Furthermore, cationic LNPs deliver saRNA equivalently to particles formulated with saRNA encapsulated in an ionizable lipid particle, both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we show that cationic and ionizable LNP formulations induce equivalent antibodies against HIV-1 Env gp140 as a model antigen. These studies establish formulating saRNA on the surface of cationic LNPs as an alternative to the paradigm of encapsulating RNA.
Progatzky F, Jha A, Wane M, et al., 2019, Induction of innate cytokine responses by respiratory mucosal challenge with R848 in zebrafish, mice and humans, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Vol: 144, Pages: 342-345.e7, ISSN: 0091-6749
We compared live zebrafish, mouse and human nasal challenge responses to the TLR7/8 agonist resiquimod (R848). We found remarkably similar induction of mediators in the three species, offering novel mucosal models of innate anti-viral immunity.
Kis Z, Shattock R, Shah N, et al., 2019, Correction: Emerging technologies for low‐cost, rapid vaccine manufacture, Biotechnology Journal, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-2, ISSN: 1860-6768
Blakney AK, McKay PF, Christensen D, et al., 2019, Effects of cationic adjuvant formulation particle type, fluidity and immunomodulators on delivery and immunogenicity of saRNA, Journal of Controlled Release, Vol: 304, Pages: 65-74, ISSN: 0168-3659
Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) is well suited as a vaccine platform against chlamydia, as it is relatively affordable and scalable, has been shown to induce immunity against multivalent antigens, and can result in protein expression for up to 60 days. Cationic adjuvant formulations (CAFs) have been previously investigated as an adjuvant for protein subunit vaccines; here we optimize the CAFs for delivery of saRNA in vivo and observe the immunogenicity profile in the context of both cellular and humoral immunity against the major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of Chlamydia trachomatis. We tested both liposomal and emulsion based CAFs with solid and fluid phase lipids, with or without the TLR agonists R848 and 3M-052, for in vitro transfection efficiency and cytotoxicity. We then optimized the RNA/delivery system ratio for in vivo delivery using saRNA coding for firefly luciferase (fLuc) as a reporter protein in vivo. We observed that while the fluid phase liposome formulations showed the highest in vitro transfection efficiency, the fluid and solid phase liposomes had equivalent luciferase expression in vivo. Incorporation of R848 or 3M-052 into the formulation was not observed to affect the delivery efficiency of saRNA either in vitro or in vivo. MOMP-encoding saRNA complexed with CAFs resulted in both MOMP-specific cellular and humoral immunity, and while there was a slight enhancement of IFN-γ+ T-cell responses when R848 was incorporated into the formulation, the self-adjuvanting effects of RNA appeared to dominate the immune response. These studies establish that CAFs are efficient delivery vehicles for saRNA both for in vitro transfections and in vivo immunogenicity and generate cellular and humoral responses that are proportionate to protein expression.
Sliepen K, Han BW, Bontjer I, et al., 2019, Structure and immunogenicity of a stabilized HIV-1 envelope trimer based on a group-M consensus sequence, Nature Communications, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2041-1723
Stabilized HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Env) that resemble the native Env are utilized in vaccination strategies aimed at inducing broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs). To limit the exposure of rare isolate-specific antigenic residues/determinants we generated a SOSIP trimer based on a consensus sequence of all HIV-1 group M isolates (ConM). The ConM trimer displays the epitopes of most known bNAbs and several germline bNAb precursors. The crystal structure of the ConM trimer at 3.9 Å resolution resembles that of the native Env trimer and its antigenic surface displays few rare residues. The ConM trimer elicits strong NAb responses against the autologous virus in rabbits and macaques that are significantly enhanced when it is presented on ferritin nanoparticles. The dominant NAb specificity is directed against an epitope at or close to the trimer apex. Immunogens based on consensus sequences might have utility in engineering vaccines against HIV-1 and other viruses.
Blakney AK, McKay PF, Ibarzo Yus B, et al., 2019, The skin you're in: Design of experiments optimization of lipid nanoparticle self-amplifying RNA formulations in human skin explants, ACS Nano, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1936-0851
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is a promising tool for biotherapeutics, and self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA) is particularly advantageous as it results in abundant protein expression and production is easily scalable. While mRNA therapeutics have been shown to be highly effective in small animals, the outcomes do not scale linearly when these formulations are translated to dose-escalation studies in humans. Here, we utilize a Design of Experiments (DoE) approach to optimize the formulation of saRNA lipid nanoparticles in human skin explants. We first observed that luciferase expression from saRNA peaked after 11 days in human skin. Using DoE inputs of complexing lipid identity, lipid nanoparticle dose, lipid concentration, particle concentration, and ratio of zwitterionic to cationic lipids, we optimized the saRNA-induced luciferase expression in skin explants. Lipid identity and lipid concentration were found to be significant parameters in the DoE model, and the optimized formulation resulted in ~7-fold increase in luciferase expression relative to initial DOTAP formulation. Using flow cytometry, we observed that optimized formulations delivered the saRNA to ~2% of the resident cells in the human skin explants. Although immune cells make up only 7% of the total population of cells in skin, immune cells were found to express ~50% of the RNA. This study demonstrates the powerful combination of using a DoE approach paired with clinically relevant human skin explants to optimize nucleic acid formulations. We expect that this system will be useful for optimizing both formulation and molecular designs of clinically translational nucleic acid vaccines and therapeutics.
McKay P, Cizmeci D, Aldon Y, et al., 2019, Identification of potential biomarkers of vaccine inflammation in mice, eLife, Vol: 8, ISSN: 2050-084X
Systems vaccinology approaches have been used successfully to define early signatures of the vaccine-induced immune response. However, the possibility that transcriptomics can also identify a correlate or surrogate for vaccine inflammation has not been fully explored. We have compared four licensed vaccines with known safety profiles, as well as three agonists of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) with known inflammatory potential, to elucidate the transcriptomic profile of an acceptable response to vaccination versus that of an inflammatory reaction. In mice, we looked at the transcriptomic changes in muscle at the injection site, the lymph node that drained the muscle, and the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs)isolated from the circulating blood from 4 hr after injection and over the next week. A detailed examination and comparative analysis of these transcriptomes revealed a set of novel biomarkers that are reflective of inflammation after vaccination. These biomarkers are readily measurable in the peripheral blood, providing useful surrogates of inflammation, and provide a way to select candidates with acceptable safety profiles.
Nadai Y, Held K, Joseph S, et al., 2019, Envelope-specific recognition patterns of HIV vaccine-induced IgG antibodies are linked to immunogen structure and sequence, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1664-3224
Background: A better understanding of the parameters influencing vaccine-induced IgG recognition of individual antigenic regions and their variants within the HIV Envelope protein (Env) can help to improve design of preventive HIV vaccines.Methods: Env-specific IgG responses were mapped in samples of the UKHVC003 Standard Group (UK003SG, n = 11 from UK) and TaMoVac01 (TMV01, n = 17 from Tanzania) HIV vaccine trials. Both trials consisted of three immunizations with DNA, followed by two boosts with recombinant Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara (MVA), either mediating secretion of gp120 (UK003SG) or the presentation of cell membrane bound gp150 envelopes (TMV01) from infected cells, and an additional two boosts with 5 μg of CN54gp140 protein adjuvanted with glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant (GLA). Env immunogen sequences in UK003SG were solely based on the clade C isolate CN54, whereas in TMV01 these were based on clades A, C, B, and CRF01AE. The peptide microarray included 8 globally representative Env sequences, CN54gp140 and the MVA-encoded Env immunogens from both trials, as well as additional peptide variants for hot spots of immune recognition.Results: After the second MVA boost, UK003SG vaccinees almost exclusively targeted linear, non-glycosylated antigenic regions located in the inter-gp120 interface. In contrast, TMV01 recipients most strongly targeted the V2 region and an immunodominant region in gp41. The V3 region was frequently targeted in both trials, with a higher recognition magnitude for diverse antigenic variants observed in the UK003SG (p < 0.0001). After boosting with CN54gp140/GLA, the overall response magnitude increased with a more comparable recognition pattern of antigenic regions and variants between the two trials. Recognition of most immunodominant regions within gp120 remained significantly stronger in UK003SG, whereas V2-region recognition was not boosted in either group.Conclusions: IgG recognition of linear antigenic Env regions differe
Liu R, Blakney AK, Gokhan Y, et al., 2019, Cationic star-shaped glycopolymer brushes for targeted gene delivery, 257th National Meeting of the American-Chemical-Society (ACS), Publisher: AMER CHEMICAL SOC, ISSN: 0065-7727
Kis Z, Shattock R, Shah N, et al., 2019, Emerging technologies for low-cost, rapid vaccine manufacture, Biotechnology Journal, Vol: 14, ISSN: 1860-6768
To stop the spread of future epidemics and meet infant vaccination demands in low‐ and middle‐income countries, flexible, rapid and low‐cost vaccine development and manufacturing technologies are required. Vaccine development platform technologies that can produce a wide range of vaccines are emerging, including: a) humanized, high‐yield yeast recombinant protein vaccines; b) insect cell‐baculovirus ADDomer vaccines; c) Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) vaccines; d) RNA vaccines. Herein, existing and future platforms are assessed in terms of addressing challenges of scale, cost, and responsiveness. To assess the risk and feasibility of the four emerging platforms, the following six metrics are applied: 1) technology readiness; 2) technological complexity; 3) ease of scale‐up; 4) flexibility for the manufacturing of a wide range of vaccines; 5) thermostability of the vaccine product at tropical ambient temperatures; and 6) speed of response from threat identification to vaccine deployment. The assessment indicated that technologies in the order of increasing feasibility and decreasing risk are the yeast platform, ADDomer platform, followed by RNA and GMMA platforms. The comparative strengths and weaknesses of each technology are discussed in detail, illustrating the associated development and manufacturing needs and priorities.
Lopez E, Shattock RJ, Kent SJ, et al., 2018, The Multifaceted Nature of Immunoglobulin A and Its Complex Role in HIV, AIDS RESEARCH AND HUMAN RETROVIRUSES, Vol: 34, Pages: 727-738, ISSN: 0889-2229
Sliepen K, Han BW, Bontjer I, et al., 2018, Structure and Immunogenicity of a Stabilized HIV-1 Envelope Trimer Based on a Group M Consensus Sequence, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 335-335, ISSN: 0889-2229
Herrera C, Veazey R, Lemke M, et al., 2018, Vaccination with ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX (R) B/E of Non-human Primates (NHPs) Elicits Distinct Mucosal and Systemic Responses, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 306-306, ISSN: 0889-2229
McKay PF, Aldon Y, Groepper C, et al., 2018, Development and Pre-clinical Immunogenicity of a Formulated saRNA Replicon Vaccine Expressing Designed Native-like ConSOSL.UFO HIV Env Glycoproteins, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 333-333, ISSN: 0889-2229
Aldon Y, McKay PF, Blakney A, et al., 2018, Mumps and PIV5 Pseudotyped Virus-like Particles for HIV-1 Env Trimer Display, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 325-325, ISSN: 0889-2229
Aldon Y, McKay PF, Allen J, et al., 2018, Rational design of DNA-expressed stabilized native-like HIV-1 envelope trimers, Cell Reports, Vol: 24, Pages: 3324-3338.e5, ISSN: 2211-1247
The HIV-1-envelope glycoprotein (Env) is the main target of antigen design for antibody-based prophylactic vaccines. The generation of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAb) likely requires the appropriate presentation of stabilized trimers preventing exposure of non-neutralizing antibody (nNAb) epitopes. We designed a series of membrane-bound Envs with increased trimer stability through the introduction of key stabilization mutations. We derived a stabilized HIV-1 trimer, ConSOSL.UFO.750, which displays a dramatic reduction in nNAb binding while maintaining high quaternary and MPER-specific bNAb binding. Its soluble counterpart, ConSOSL.UFO.664, displays similar antigenicity, and its native-like Env structure is confirmed by negative stain-EM and glycosylation profiling of the soluble ConSOSL.UFO.664 trimer. A rabbit immunization study demonstrated that the ConSOSL.UFO.664 can induce autologous tier 2 neutralization. We have successfully designed a stabilized native-like Env trimer amenable to nucleic acid or viral vector-based vaccination strategies.
Aw R, McKay P, Shattock R, et al., 2018, A systematic analysis of the expression of the anti-HIV VRC01 antibody in Pichia pastoris through signal peptide optimization, Protein Expression and Purification, Vol: 149, Pages: 43-50, ISSN: 1046-5928
Pichia pastoris (Komagataella phaffi) has been used for recombinant protein production for over 30 years with over 5000 proteins reported to date. However, yields of antibody are generally low. We have evaluated the effect of secretion signal peptides on the production of a broadly neutralizing antibody (VRC01) to increase yield. Eleven different signal peptides, including the murine IgG1 signal peptide, were combinatorially evaluated for their effect on antibody titer. Strains using different combinations of signal peptides were identified that secreted approximately 2-7 fold higher levels of VRC01 than the previous best secretor, with the highest yield of 6.50 mg L-1 in shake flask expression. Interestingly it was determined that the highest yields were achieved when the murine IgG1 signal peptide was fused to the light chain, with several different signal peptides leading to high yield when fused to the heavy chain. Finally, we have evaluated the effect of using a 2A signal peptide to create a bicistronic vector in the attempt to reduce burden and increase transformation efficiency, but found it to give reduced yields compared to using two independent vectors.
Cheeseman HM, Day S, McFarlane LR, et al., 2018, Combined Skin and Muscle DNA Priming Provides Enhanced Humoral Responses to a Human Immunodeficency Virus Type 1 Clade C Envelope Vaccine, Human Gene Therapy, Vol: 29, Pages: 1011-1028, ISSN: 1043-0342
© Copyright 2018, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers2018. Intradermal (i.d.) and intramuscular (i.m.) injections when administered with or without electroporation (EP) have the potential to tailor the immune response to DNA vaccination. This Phase I randomized controlled clinical trial in human immunodeficiency virus type 1-negative volunteers investigated whether the site and mode of DNA vaccination influences the quality of induced cellular and humoral immune responses following the DNA priming phase and subsequent protein boost with recombinant clade C CN54 gp140. A strategy of concurrent i.d. and i.m. DNA immunizations administered with or without EP was adopted. Subtle differences were observed in the shaping of vaccine-induced virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell-mediated immune responses between groups receiving: i.d.EP+ i.m., i.d. + i.m.EP, and i.d.EP+ i.m.EPregimens. The DNA priming phase induced 100% seroconversion in all of the groups. A single, non-adjuvanted protein boost induced a rapid and profound increase in binding antibodies in all groups, with a trend for higher responses in i.d.EP+ i.m.EP. The magnitude of antigen-specific binding immunoglobulin G correlated with neutralization of closely matched clade C 93MW965 virus and Fc-dimer receptor binding (FcγRIIa and FcγRIIIa). These results offer new perspectives on the use of combined skin and muscle DNA immunization in priming humoral and cellular responses to recombinant protein.
Vamvaka E, Farre G, Molinos-Albert LM, et al., 2018, Unexpected synergistic HIV neutralization by a triple microbicide produced in rice endosperm, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Vol: 115, Pages: E7854-E7862, ISSN: 0027-8424
Blakney A, McKay PF, Shattock R, 2018, Structural components for amplification of positive and negative strand VEEV splitzicons, Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2296-889X
RNA is a promising nucleic acid technology for both vaccines and therapeutics, and replicon RNA has gained traction as a next-generation RNA modality. Replicon RNA self-amplifies using a replicase complex derived from alphaviral non-structural proteins and yields higher protein expression than a similar dose of messenger RNA. Here, we debut RNA splitzicons; a split replicon system wherein the non-structural proteins (NSPs) and the gene of interest are encoded on separate RNA molecules, but still exhibit the self-amplification properties of replicon RNA. We designed both positive and negative strand splitzicons encoding firefly luciferase as a reporter protein to determine which structural components, including the 5′ untranslated region (UTR), a 51-nucleotide conserved sequence element (CSE) from the first nonstructural protein, the subgenomic promoter (SGP) and corresponding untranslated region, and an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES) affect amplification. When paired with a NSP construct derived from the whole, wild type replicon, both the positive and negative strand splitzicons were amplified. The combination of the 51nt CSE, subgenomic promoter and untranslated region were imperative for the positive strand splitzicon, while the negative strand was amplified simply with inclusion of the subgenomic promoter. The splitzicons were amplified by NSPs in multiple cell types and show increasing protein expression with increasing doses of NSP. Furthermore, both the positive and negative strand splitzicons continued to amplify over the course of 72 h, up to >100,000-fold. This work demonstrates a system for screening the components required for amplification from the positive and negative strand intermediates of RNA replicons and presents a new approach to RNA replicon technology.
Short CS, Quinlan R, Bennett P, et al., 2018, Optimising the collection of female genital tract fluid for cytokine analysis in pregnant women, Journal of Immunological Methods, Vol: 458, Pages: 15-20, ISSN: 0022-1759
Introduction: To better understand the immunology of pregnancy, study of female genital tract fluid (FGF) is desirable. However the optimum method of collection of FGF in pregnant women for immunological methods, specifically cytokine measurement, is unknown.Methods:A prospective study of HIV-uninfected pregnant women comparing two methods of FGF collection: polyvinyl acetal sponge collection of cervical fluid (CF) and menstrual cup collection of cervicovaginal fluid (CVF). Samples were collected at 3 time points across the second and third trimesters: 14-21, 22-25 and 26-31 weeks. Multiplex chemi-luminescent assays were used to measure: IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13 and TNF-α. Optimal methodology for cytokine normalisation (sample weight, volume and total protein) was explored. ResultsAll cytokines were measurable in both fluid types. IL-1β, IL-8 and IL-6 were detected at the highest concentrations (ranking order CF > CVF > plasma). CVF collection was simpler, provided the largest volume of sample (median 0.5g) with the potential for undiluted usage, and allowed for self-insertion. CF cytokine concentrations were intrinsically associated with sample weight and protein concentration however CVF cytokines were independent of these. Conclusion:Both methods of collection are robust for measurement of FGF cytokines during pregnancy. We recommend CVF collection using a menstrual cup as a viable option in pregnant women for high dimensional biological techniques.
Blakney AK, Yilmaz G, McKay PF, et al., 2018, One size does not fit all: The effect of chain length and charge density of poly(ethylene imine) based copolymers on delivery of pDNA, mRNA, and repRNA polyplexes., Biomacromolecules, Vol: 19, Pages: 2870-2879, ISSN: 1525-7797
Nucleic acid delivery systems are commonly translated between different modalities, such as DNA and RNA of varying length and structure, despite physical differences in these molecules that yield disparate delivery efficiency with the same system. Here, we synthesized a library of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)/poly(ethylene imine) copolymers with varying molar mass and charge densities in order to probe how pDNA, mRNA, and RepRNA polyplex characteristics affect transfection efficiency. The library was utilized in a full factorial design of experiment (DoE) screening, with outputs of luciferase expression, particle size, surface charge, and particle concentration. The optimal copolymer molar mass and charge density was found as 83 kDa/100%, 72 kDa/100%, and 45 kDa/80% for pDNA, RepRNA, and mRNA, respectively. While 10 of the synthesized copolymers enhanced the transfection efficiency of pDNA and mRNA, only 2 copolymers enhanced RepRNA transfection efficiency, indicating a narrow and more stringent design space for RepRNA. These findings suggest that there is not a "one size fits all" polymer for different nucleic acid species.
Aw R, McKay P, Shattock R, et al., 2018, A systematic analysis of the expression of the anti-HIV VRC01 antibody in Pichia pastoris through signal peptide optimization, Protein Expression and Purification, ISSN: 1046-5928
Kratochvil S, McKay PF, Chung AW, et al., 2018, Immunoglobulin G1 Allotype Influences Antibody Subclass Distribution in Response to HIV gp140 Vaccination (vol 8, 1883, 2017), FRONTIERS IN IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1664-3224
Anderson J, Olafsdottir TA, Kratochvil S, et al., 2018, Molecular signatures of a TLR4 agonist-adjuvanted HIV-1 vaccine candidate in humans, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1664-3224
Systems biology approaches have recently provided new insights into the mechanisms of action of human vaccines and adjuvants. Here, we investigated early transcriptional signatures induced in whole blood of healthy subjects following vaccination with a recombinant HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein subunit CN54gp140 adjuvanted with the TLR4 agonist glucopyranosyl lipid adjuvant-aqueous formulation (GLA-AF) and correlated signatures to CN54gp140-specific serum antibody responses. Fourteen healthy volunteers aged 18-45 years were immunized intramuscularly three times at 1-month intervals and whole blood samples were collected at baseline, 6 h, and 1, 3, and 7 days post first immunization. Subtle changes in the transcriptomic profiles were observed following immunization, ranging from over 300 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at day 1 to nearly 100 DEGs at day 7 following immunization. Functional pathway analysis revealed blood transcription modules (BTMs) related to general cell cycle activation, and innate immune cell activation at early time points, as well as BTMs related to T cells and B cell activation at the later time points post-immunization. Diverse CN54gp140-specific serum antibody responses of the subjects enabled their categorization into high or low responders, at early ( < 1 month) and late (up to 6 months) time points post vaccination. BTM analyses revealed repression of modules enriched in NK cells, and the mitochondrial electron chain, in individuals with high or sustained antigen-specific antibody responses. However, low responders showed an enhancement of BTMs associated with enrichment in myeloid cells and monocytes as well as integrin cell surface interactions. Flow cytometry analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells obtained from the subjects revealed an enhanced frequency of CD56 dim NK cells in the majority of vaccines 14 days after vaccination as compared with the baseline. These results emphasize the utility of a systems biology approa
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