In silico analysis and expression of a novel chimeric antigen as a vaccine candidate against Toxoplasma gondii.

Affiliation

Molecular Biology Research Center, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes one of the most common parasitic infections in humans and other warm-blooded animals. Currently, there are no effective treatments for inhibiting the formation of chronic tissue cysts in infected hosts. Thus, the development of a vaccine to protect against toxoplasmosis is an attractive option for avoiding infection. The aim of this study was to design an epitope-based vaccine for T. gondii. In the present study, an in silico approach was used to predict and analyze B-cell and T-cell epitopes and the transmembrane domain of proteins SAG1, MIC3, and ROP8. We also predicted the antigenicity, allergenicity, secondary and tertiary structures, and physicochemical characteristics of a chimeric protein. Next, codon optimization and mRNA structure prediction were conducted using bioinformatics tools, and the designed construct was chemically synthesized and cloned into the pET28a vector. SAG1 (amino acid positions 85-235), MIC3 (30-180), and ROP8 (85-185) were found to have several strong immunodominant epitopes that were joined with a rigid linker A(EAAAK)2A. Although the resultant protein called MRS (MIC3, ROP8, and SAG1) did not turn out to be an allergen, its antigenicity was estimated to be 0.7983. Additionally, MRS was selected as the best vaccine candidate on the basis of its secondary and tertiary structures. The number of amino acids, molecular weight, and numbers of negatively and positively charged residues of MRS were 427 and 45,661.31 Da, 45, and 50, respectively. ΔG of the best-predicted structure was -413.0 kcal/mol, and the first nucleotides at the 5' end did not form a stable hairpin or pseudoknot. Finally, successful expression and verification of the expressed MRS protein showed that in silico analysis was almost accurate. This vaccine candidate selected by in silico tools should be validated in experimental studies.

Keywords

In silico,MIC3,ROP8,SAG1,Toxoplasma gondii,Vaccine,

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