Antibody responses to crucial functional epitopes as a novel approach to assess immunogenicity of vaccine adjuvants.


Infectious Disease Division, Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


We are interested in developing a vaccine that prevents genital herpes. Adjuvants have a major impact on vaccine immunogenicity. We compared two adjuvants, an experimental Merck Sharp & Dohme lipid nanoparticle (LNP) adjuvant, LNP-2, with CpG oligonucleotide combined with alum for immunogenicity in mice when administered with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) glycoproteins C, D and E (gC2, gD2, gE2). The immunogens are intended to produce neutralizing antibodies to gC2 and gD2, antibodies to gD2 and gE2 that block cell-to-cell spread, and antibodies to gE2 and gC2 that block immune evasion from antibody and complement, respectively. Overall, CpG/alum was better at producing serum and vaginal IgG binding antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, antibodies that block virus spread from cell-to-cell, and antibodies that block immune evasion domains on gC2. We used a novel high throughput biosensor assay to further assess differences in immunogenicity by mapping antibody responses to seven crucial epitopes on gD2 involved in virus entry or cell-to-cell spread. We found striking differences between CpG/alum and LNP-2. Mice immunized with gD2 CpG/alum produced higher titers of antibodies than LNP-2 to six of seven crucial epitopes and produced antibodies to more crucial epitopes than LNP-2. Measuring epitope-specific antibodies helped to define mechanisms by which CpG/alum outperformed LNP-2 and is a valuable technique to compare adjuvants.


Adjuvants,Antibodies,Biosensor,Epitopes,Herpes simplex virus,Vaccines,