In Vitro Transcribed mRNA Vaccines with Programmable Stimulation of Innate Immunity.
In vitro transcribed (IVT) mRNA is an appealing platform for next generation vaccines, as it can be manufactured rapidly at large scale to meet emerging pathogens. However, its performance as a robust vaccine is strengthened by supplemental immune stimulation, which is typically provided by adjuvant formulations that facilitate delivery and stimulate immune responses. Here, we present a strategy for increasing translation of a model IVT mRNA vaccine while simultaneously modulating its immune-stimulatory properties in a programmable fashion, without relying on delivery vehicle formulations. Substitution of uridine with the modified base N1-methylpseudouridine reduces the intrinsic immune stimulation of the IVT mRNA and enhances antigen translation. Tethering adjuvants to naked IVT mRNA through antisense nucleotides boosts the immunostimulatory properties of adjuvants in vitro, without impairing transgene production or adjuvant activity. In vivo, intramuscular injection of tethered IVT mRNA-TLR7 agonists leads to enhanced local immune responses, and to antigen-specific cell-mediated and humoral responses. We believe this system represents a potential platform compatible with any adjuvant of interest to enable specific programmable stimulation of immune responses.
Loomis, KH; Lindsay, KE; Zurla, C; Bhosle, SM; Vanover, DA; Blanchard, EL; Kirschman, JL; Bellamkonda, RV; Santangelo, PJ
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