Bioconjugation Approaches to Produce Subunit Vaccines Composed of Protein or Peptide Antigens and Covalently Attached Toll-Like Receptor Ligands

Zhenghui Xu, Peter Michael Moyle
  • Bioconjugate Chemistry, September 2017, American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • DOI: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.7b00478

Improving vaccines by attaching immunostimulatory Toll-like receptor ligands onto protein antigens

What is it about?

Methods to attach immunostimulatory adjuvants onto protein vaccine antigens to improve vaccine potency and safety, and to tailor the types of immune responses that are elicited. Focuses on recombinant (fusion proteins), synthetic (chemical ligation and synthetic peptides) and semisynthetic techniques (e.g. enzyme-mediated ligations).

Why is it important?

Traditional vaccine approaches (e.g. killed whole or attenuated pathogens) have failed to produce vaccines against many important infectious organisms. Subunit approaches, where only the minimal microbial components necessary to provide protection are administered, are expected to produce the next wave of vaccines. However, these antigens tend to be poorly immunogenic, requiring potent and appropriate immunostimulatory adjuvants to improve their efficacy and to ensure that appropriate immune responses are elicited to offer protection against the pathogen of interest. The conjugation of antigens to adjuvants produces an ideal means to target all vaccine components to the same cell of the immune system, improving potency, offering the ability to focus immune responses on specific antigens and to tailor the types of immune responses that are elicited. Thus, this approach should prove of significant importance for the future of vaccine development.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr Peter Michael Moyle and Zhenghui Xu