Cyclic OmpC peptidic epitope conjugated to tetanus toxoid as a potential vaccine candidate against shigellosis

Publication date: 25 July 2018
Source:Vaccine, Volume 36, Issue 31
Author(s): Anna Jarząb, Danuta Witkowska, Edmund Ziomek, Bartosz Setner, Aleksandra Czajkowska, Małgorzata Dorot, Zbigniew Szewczuk, Andrzej Gamian
In earlier works we have described that mice immunized with outer membrane protein OmpC survive the challenge with live Shigella flexnerii 3a. We have also identified conformational epitope of this protein, that was recognized by mice antibodies. The aim of current work was to investigate whether synthetic OmpC epitope homologs can elicit immunological response sufficient in protecting mice against shigellosis. Several linear peptides containing RYDERY motif were synthesized and conjugated to poly-lysine. These conjugates appeared to be poor immunogens and to boost the immunological response an addition of the adjuvant (MPL) was required. Unfortunately, the MPL alone caused a very high immunological reaction that was masking response to peptidic epitope. Under those circumstances we used tetanus toxoid (TT) as the carrier protein for the peptides and the agent stimulating immunological response. Series of cyclic peptides, homologs of the OmpC main epitope were synthesized and conjugated to TT. The loop size in cyclic peptides varied by number of glycine residues, i.e., 1–3 residues added to the GLNRYDERYIGK motif. The linear GLNRYDERYIGC-TT was also prepared as the control. The latter conjugate gave the highest immunological response, followed by the cyclic-GGLNRYDERYIGC-TT and cyclic-GLNRYDERYIGC-TT. The third peptide, cyclic-GGGLNRYDERYIGC-TT, gave a very low response, although it was the most resistant to proteolysis. However, antibodies obtained against cyclic-GGLNRYDERYIGC-TT were more potent to recognize both OmpC and Shigella flexnerii 3a cells than the antibodies against linear GLNRYDERYIGC-TT. Furthermore, the monoclonal antibodies raised against linear GLNRYDERYIGC-TT showed 20-fold lower dissociation constant (KD) than the naturally occurring polyclonal antibodies from umbilical cord sera. Monoclonal antibodies also gave a weaker signal in electron microscope than mice and human polyclonal antibodies. In overall, our results point to cyclic peptides as better candidates for a vaccine development, since they are eliciting production of the higher affinity antibodies against Shigella cells and OmpC.