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Highly homogenous tri-acylated S-LPS acts as a novel clinically applicable vaccine against Shigella flexneri 2a infection

Ledov, Vladimir A., Golovina, Marina E., Markina, Anna A., Knirel, Yuriy A., L'vov, Vyacheslav L., Kovalchuk, Alexander L., Aparin, Petr G.
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.8 pp. 1062-1072
O-antigens, Shigella flexneri, antibodies, children, cytokines, diarrhea, guinea pigs, humans, immunity, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G, lipid A, morbidity, mortality, serotypes, shigellosis, toxicity, vaccines
Shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea worldwide, exhibits high morbidity and mortality in children. Specificity of Shigella immunity is determined by the structure of the main protective O-antigen polysaccharide component incorporated into the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) molecule. Endotoxicity, however, precludes LPS clinical use. Thus, there is still no vaccine against the most prevalent shigellosis species (serotype S. flexneri 2a), despite ongoing efforts focused on inducing serotype-specific immunity. As LPS is highly heterogenous, we hypothesized that more homogenous pools of LPS might be less toxic. We developed a method to generate a homogenous S. flexneri 2a LPS subfraction, Ac₃-S-LPS, containing long chain O-specific polysaccharide (S-LPS) and mainly tri-acylated lipid A, with no penta- and hexa-acylated, and rare tetra-acylated lipid A. Ac₃-S-LPS had dramatically reduced pyrogenicity and protected guinea pigs from shigellosis. In volunteers, 50 µg of injected Ac₃-S-LPS vaccine was safe, with low pyrogenicity, no severe and few minor adverse events, and did not induce pro-inflammatory cytokines. In spite of the profound lipid A modification, the vaccine induced a prevalence of IgG and IgA antibodies. Thus, we have developed the first safe immunogenic LPS-based vaccine candidate for human administration. Homogenous underacetylated LPSs may also be useful for treating other LPS-driven human diseases.Clinical trial registry: