In silico design of influenza a virus artificial epitope-based T-cell antigens and the evaluation of their immunogenicity in mice

Sergei I. Bazhan, Denis V. Antonets, Ekaterina V. Starostina, Tatyana N. Ilyicheva, Olga N. Kaplina, Vasiliy Yu Marchenko, Olga Yu Volkova, Anastasiya Yu Bakulina, Larisa I. Karpenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The polyepitope strategy is promising approach for successfully creating a broadly protective flu vaccine, which targets T-lymphocytes (both CD4+ and CD8+) to recognise the most conserved epitopes of viral proteins. In this study, we employed a computer-aided approach to develop several artificial antigens potentially capable of evoking immune responses to different virus subtypes. These antigens included conservative T-cell epitopes of different influenza A virus proteins. To design epitope-based antigens we used experimentally verified information regarding influenza virus T-cell epitopes from the Immune Epitope Database (IEDB) (http://www.iedb.org). We constructed two “human” and two “murine” variants of polyepitope antigens. Amino acid sequences of target polyepitope antigens were designed using our original TEpredict/PolyCTLDesigner software. Immunogenic and protective features of DNA constructs encoding “murine” target T-cell immunogens were studied in BALB/c mice. We showed that mice groups immunised with a combination of computer-generated “murine” DNA immunogens had a 37.5% survival rate after receiving a lethal dose of either A/California/4/2009 (H1N1) virus or A/Aichi/2/68 (H3N2) virus, while immunisation with live flu H1N1 and H3N2 vaccine strains provided protection against homologous viruses and failed to protect against heterologous viruses. These results demonstrate that mechanisms of cross-protective immunity may be associated with the stimulation of specific T-cell responses. This study demonstrates that our computer-aided approach may be successfully used for rational designing artificial polyepitope antigens capable of inducing virus-specific T-lymphocyte responses and providing partial protection against two different influenza virus subtypes. Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Early online date23 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • DNA vaccine
  • immunogenicity
  • In silico design
  • influenza virus
  • T-cell epitope-based antigens
  • IMMUNITY
  • PEPTIDE BINDING
  • MOTIF
  • PROTECTIVE EFFICACY
  • PREDICTION
  • MHC CLASS-I
  • NANOPARTICLES
  • DNA VACCINES
  • FLANKING REGION
  • RATIONAL DESIGN

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