Protection of mice against experimental cryptococcosis by synthesized peptides delivered in glucan particles [preprint]
AuthorsSpecht, Charles A.
Homan, E. Jane
Lee, Chrono K.
Gomez, Christina L.
Ostroff, Gary R.
Levitz, Stuart M.
UMass Chan AffiliationsGraduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Program in Molecular Medicine
Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins
Bacterial Infections and Mycoses
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology
Immunology and Infectious Disease
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AbstractThe high global burden of cryptococcosis has made development of a protective vaccine a public health priority. We previously demonstrated that a vaccine composed of recombinant Cryptococcus neoformans chitin deacetylase 2 (Cda2) delivered in glucan particles (GPs) protects BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice from an otherwise lethal challenge with a highly virulent C. neoformans strain. An immunoinformatic analysis of Cda2 revealed a peptide sequence predicted to have strong binding to the MHC Class II (MHC II) H2-IAd allele found in BALB/c mice. BALB/c mice vaccinated with GPs containing a 32 amino acid peptide (Cda2-Pep1) that included this strong binding region were protected from cryptococcosis. Protection was lost with GP-based vaccines containing versions of recombinant Cda2 protein and Cda2-Pep1 with mutations predicted to greatly diminish MHC II binding. Cda2 has homology to the three other C. neoformans chitin deacetylases, Cda1, Cda3 and Fpd1, in the high MHC II binding region. GPs loaded with homologous peptides of Cda1, Cda3 and Fpd1 protected BALB/c mice from experimental cryptococcosis, albeit not as robustly as the Cda2-Pep1 vaccine. Finally, seven other peptides were synthesized based on regions in Cda2 predicted to contain promising CD4+ T cell epitopes in BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice. While five peptide vaccines significantly protected BALB/c mice, only one protected C57BL/6 mice. Thus, GP-based vaccines containing a single peptide can protect mice against cryptococcosis. However, given the diversity of human MHC II alleles, a peptide-based Cryptococcus vaccine for use in humans would be challenging and likely need to contain multiple peptide sequences. Importance: Cryptococcosis, due to infection by fungi of the Cryptococcus neoformans species complex, is responsible for substantial morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised persons, particularly those with AIDS. Cryptococcal vaccines are a public health priority yet are not available for human use. We previously demonstrated mice could be protected from experimental cryptococcosis with vaccines composed of recombinant cryptococcal proteins encased in hollow highly purified yeast cell walls (glucan particles). Here, we examined one such protective protein, Cda2, and using bioinformatics, identified a region predicted to stimulate strong T cell responses. A peptide containing this region formulated in glucan particle-based vaccines protected mice as well as the recombinant protein. Other peptide vaccines also protected, including peptides containing sequences from proteins homologous to Cda2. These preclinical mouse studies provide a proof of principle that peptides can be effective as vaccines to protect against cryptococcosis and that bioinformatic approaches can guide peptide selection.
bioRxiv 2021.11.12.468465; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.12.468465. Link to preprint on bioRxiv.
Permanent Link to this Itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.14038/29891
This article is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International license.