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Vaccine synergy with virus-like particle and immune complex platforms for delivery of human papillomavirus L2 antigen

Diamos, Andrew G., Larios, Dalia, Brown, Lauren, Kilbourne, Jacquelyn, Kim, Hyun Soon, Saxena, Divyasha, Palmer, Kenneth E., Mason, Hugh S.
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.1 pp. 137-144
Papillomaviridae, antibodies, antigen-antibody complex, antigens, burden of disease, coat proteins, hepatitis B, immune response, immunoglobulins, mice, neutralization tests, protein synthesis, recombinant proteins, vaccines, virus-like particles
Diverse HPV subtypes are responsible for considerable disease burden worldwide, necessitating safe, cheap, and effective vaccines. The HPV minor capsid protein L2 is a promising candidate to create broadly protective HPV vaccines, though it is poorly immunogenic by itself. To create highly immunogenic and safe vaccine candidates targeting L2, we employed a plant-based recombinant protein expression system to produce two different vaccine candidates: L2 displayed on the surface of hepatitis B core (HBc) virus-like particles (VLPs) or L2 genetically fused to an immunoglobulin capable of forming recombinant immune complexes (RIC). Both vaccine candidates were potently immunogenic in mice, but were especially so when delivered together, generating very consistent and high antibody titers directed against HPV L2 (>1,000,000) that correlated with virus neutralization. These data indicate a novel immune response synergy upon co-delivery of VLP and RIC platforms, a strategy that can be adapted generally for many different antigens.