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Optimization of a multivalent peptide vaccine for nicotine addiction

Zeigler, David F., Roque, Richard, Clegg, Christopher H.
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.12 pp. 1584-1590
B-lymphocytes, T-lymphocytes, amino acid sequences, antibodies, haptens, mice, nicotine, protein synthesis, rats, toxicity, vaccines
We have been optimizing the design of a conjugate vaccine for nicotine addiction that employs a peptide-based hapten carrier. This peptide, which is produced by solid-phase protein synthesis, contains B cell and T cell epitope domains and eliminates the non-relevant, but highly immunogenic sequences in microbial carriers. In this report, the amino acid sequences in the T cell domain were optimized for improved vaccine activity and multivalent formulations containing structurally distinct haptens were tested for the induction of additive antibody responses. Trivalent vaccines produced antibody concentrations in mice that were 100 times greater than the amount of nicotine measured in smokers, and significantly reduced acute nicotine toxicity in rats. Two additional features were explored that distinguish the peptide from traditional recombinant carriers. The first is the minimal induction of an anti-carrier response, which can suppress nicotine vaccine activity. The second employs solid-phase synthesis to manufacture haptenated peptide. This approach obviates conventional conjugation chemistries and streamlines production of a more potent vaccine antigen.