School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia; Institute of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia; School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102, Australia. Electronic address: [Email]
Short peptides derived from virulent pathogen proteins are promising antigens for the development of vaccines against infectious diseases. However, in order to mimic the danger signals associated with natural infection and stimulate an adaptive immune response, peptide antigens must be co-delivered with immune adjuvants. In this study, a group A streptococcus (GAS) M-protein derived B-cell epitope: J8, and universal T-helper epitope P25 containing peptides, were chemically coupled with different anionic amino acid-based polymers. The poly(anionic amino acid)-peptide antigen conjugates were mixed with trimethyl chitosan (TMC) to produce self-adjuvanting nanoparticulate vaccine candidates. TMC from two different sources were used to analyse their effect on immunogenicity. The nanoparticles produced from a peptide modified with 10 residues of polyglutamic acid and fungal TMC (NP5) stimulated production of the highest levels of serum antibodies in outbred mice. These antibodies were opsonic against all clinical GAS isolates tested.