Thermal stability of self-assembled peptide vaccine materials.
The majority of current vaccines depend on a continuous "cold chain" of storage and handling between 2 and 8°C. Vaccines experiencing temperature excursions outside this range can suffer from reduced potency. This thermal sensitivity results in significant losses of vaccine material each year and risks the administration of vaccines with diminished protective ability, issues that are heightened in the developing world. Here, using peptide self-assemblies based on the fibril-forming peptide Q11 and containing the epitopes OVA323-339 from ovalbumin or ESAT651-70 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the chemical, conformational, and immunological stability of supramolecular peptide materials were investigated. It was expected that these materials would exhibit advantageous thermal stability owing to their adjuvant-free and fully synthetic construction. Neither chemical nor conformational changes were observed for either peptide when stored at 45°C for 7days. ESAT651-70-Q11 was strongly immunogenic whether it was stored as a dry powder or as aqueous nanofibers, showing undiminished immunogenicity even when stored as long as six months at 45°C. This result was in contrast to ESAT651-70 conjugated to a protein carrier and adjuvanted with alum, which demonstrated marked thermal sensitivity in these conditions. Antibody titers and affinities were undiminished in mice for OVA323-339-Q11 if it was stored as assembled nanofibers, yet some diminishment was observed for material stored as a dry powder. The OVA study was done in a different mouse strain and with a different prime/boost regimen, and so it should not be compared directly with the study for the ESAT epitope. This work indicates that peptide self-assemblies can possess attractive thermal stability properties in the context of vaccine development.
Statement of significance
Almost all current vaccines must be maintained within a tight and refrigerated temperature range, usually between 2 and 8°C. This presents significant challenges for their distribution, especially in the developing world. Here we report on the surprisingly robust thermal stability of a self-assembled peptide vaccine. In particular a self-assembled peptide vaccine containing a tuberculosis epitope maintained all of its potency in mice when exposed to an extreme thermal treatment of six months at 45°C. In a different mouse model, we investigated another model epitope and found some storage conditions where potency was diminished. Overall this study illustrates that some self-assembled peptide vaccines can have remarkable thermal stability.
Sun, T; Han, H; Hudalla, GA; Wen, Y; Pompano, RR; Collier, JH
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