A Method for Producing Protein Nanoparticles with Applications in Vaccines

July 28, 2017


A Method for Producing Protein Nanoparticles with Applications in Vaccines


David S. Jones, Christopher G. Rowe, Beth Chen, Karine Reiter, Kelly M. Rausch, David L. Narum, Yimin Wu, Patrick E. Duffy






A practical method is described for synthesizing conjugated protein nanoparticles using thioether (thiol-maleimide) cross-linking chemistry. This method fills the need for a reliable and reproducible synthesis of protein conjugate vaccines for preclinical studies, which can be adapted to produce comparable material for clinical studies. The described method appears to be generally applicable to the production of nanoparticles from a variety of soluble proteins having different structural features. Examples presented include single-component particles of the malarial antigens AMA1, CSP and Pfs25, and two component particles comprised of those antigens covalently cross-linked with the immunogenic carrier protein EPA (a detoxified form of exotoxin A from Pseudomonas aeruginosa). The average molar masses (Mw) of particles in the different preparations ranged from 487 kDa to 3,420 kDa, with hydrodynamic radii (Rh) ranging from 12.1 nm to 38.3 nm. The antigenic properties and secondary structures of the proteins within the particles appear to be largely intact, with no significant changes seen in their far UV circular dichroism spectra, or in their ability to bind conformation-dependent monoclonal antibodies. Mice vaccinated with mixed particles of Pfs25 or CSP and EPA generated significantly greater antigen-specific antibody levels compared with mice vaccinated with the respective unmodified monomeric antigens, validating the potential of antigen-EPA nanoparticles as vaccines.




Circular dichroism, Antibodies, Nanostructures, Secondary structure, Pharmaceutical, Materials, Biochemistry