A novel immunization approach for dengue infection based on conserved T cell epitopes formulated in calcium phosphate nanoparticles

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2017 Nov 2;13(11):2612-2625. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2017.1369639. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Huang X1Karabudak A1Comber JD1Philip M1Morcol T2Philip R1.

1 Immunotope, Inc. , Doylestown , PA , USA.
2 Captivate Pharmaceuticals , Doylestown , PA , USA.


Dengue virus (DV) is the etiologic agent of dengue fever, the most significant mosquito-borne viral disease in humans. Most DV vaccine approaches are focused on generating antibody mediated responses; one such DV vaccine is approved for use in humans but its efficacy is limited. While it is clear that T cell responses play important role in DV infection and subsequent disease manifestations, fewer studies are aimed at developing vaccines that induce robust T cells responses. Potent T cell based vaccines require 2 critical components: the identification of specific T cell stimulating MHC associated peptides, and an optimized vaccine delivery vehicle capable of simultaneously delivering the antigens and any required adjuvants. We have previously identified and characterized DV specific HLA-A2 and -A24 binding DV serotypes conserved epitopes, and the feasibility of an epitope based vaccine for DV infection. In this study, we build on those previous studies and describe an investigational DV vaccine using T cell epitopes incorporated into a calcium phosphate nanoparticle (CaPNP) delivery system. This study presents a comprehensive analysis of functional immunogenicity of DV CaPNP/multipeptide formulations in vitro and in vivo and demonstrates the CaPNP/multipeptide vaccine is capable of inducing T cell responses against all 4 serotypes of DV. This synthetic vaccine is also cost effective, straightforward to manufacture, and stable at room temperature in a lyophilized form. This formulation may serve as an effective candidate DV vaccine that protects against all 4 serotypes as either a prophylactic or therapeutic vaccine.

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Dengue virus specific dual HLA binding T cell epitopes induce CD8+ T cell responses in seropositive individuals.

Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014;10(12):3531-43. doi: 10.4161/21645515.2014.980210.

Comber JD1, Karabudak A, Huang X, Piazza PA, Marques ET, Philip R.

1a Immunotope Inc ; Doylestown , PA USA.


Dengue virus infects an estimated 300 million people each year and even more are at risk of becoming infected as the virus continues to spread into new areas. Despite the increase in viral prevalence, no anti-viral medications or vaccines are approved for treating or preventing infection. CD8+ T cell responses play a major role in viral clearance. Therefore, effective vaccines that induce a broad, multi-functional T cell response with substantial cross-reactivity between all virus serotypes can have major impacts on reducing infection rates and infection related complications. Here, we took an immunoproteomic approach to identify novel MHC class I restricted T cell epitopes presented by dengue virus infected cells, representing the natural and authentic targets of the T cell response. Using this approach we identified 4 novel MHC-I restricted epitopes: 2 with the binding motif for HLA-A24 molecules and 2 with both HLA-A2 and HLA-A24 binding motifs. These peptides were able to activate CD8+ T cell responses in both healthy, seronegative individuals and in seropositive individuals who have previously been infected with dengue virus. Importantly, the dual binding epitopes activated pre-existing T cell precursors in PBMCs obtained from both HLA-A2+ and HLA-A24+ seropositive individuals. Together, the data indicate that these epitopes are immunologically relevant T cell activating peptides presented on infected cells during a natural infection and therefore may serve as candidate antigens for the development of effective multi-serotype specific dengue virus vaccines.

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