• Nanoparticle-delivered TLR4 and RIG-I agonists enhance immune response to SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine.

Nanoparticle-delivered TLR4 and RIG-I agonists enhance immune response to SARS-CoV-2 subunit vaccine.

Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society (2022-05-17)
Alexandra Atalis, Mark C Keenum, Bhawana Pandey, Alexander Beach, Pallab Pradhan, Casey Vantucci, Laura O'Farrell, Richard Noel, Ritika Jain, Justin Hosten, Clinton Smith, Liana Kramer, Angela Jimenez, Miguel Armenta Ochoa, David Frey, Krishnendu Roy

Despite success in vaccinating populations against SARS-CoV-2, concerns about immunity duration, continued efficacy against emerging variants, protection from infection and transmission, and worldwide vaccine availability remain. Molecular adjuvants targeting pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) could improve and broaden the efficacy and durability of vaccine responses. Native SARS-CoV-2 infection stimulates various PRRs, including toll-like receptors (TLRs) and retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I)-like receptors. We hypothesized that targeting PRRs using molecular adjuvants on nanoparticles (NPs) along with a stabilized spike protein antigen could stimulate broad and efficient immune responses. Adjuvants targeting TLR4 (MPLA), TLR7/8 (R848), TLR9 (CpG), and RIG-I (PUUC) delivered on degradable polymer NPs were combined with the S1 subunit of spike protein and assessed in vitro with isogeneic mixed lymphocyte reactions (isoMLRs). For in vivo studies, the adjuvant-NPs were combined with stabilized spike protein or spike-conjugated NPs and assessed using a two-dose intranasal or intramuscular vaccination model in mice. Combination adjuvant-NPs simultaneously targeting TLR and RIG-I receptors (MPLA+PUUC, CpG+PUUC, and R848+PUUC) differentially induced T cell proliferation and increased proinflammatory cytokine secretion by APCs in vitro. When delivered intranasally, MPLA+PUUC NPs enhanced CD4+CD44+ activated memory T cell responses against spike protein in the lungs while MPLA NPs increased anti-spike IgA in the bronchoalveolar (BAL) fluid and IgG in the blood. Following intramuscular delivery, PUUC NPs induced strong humoral immune responses, characterized by increases in anti-spike IgG in the blood and germinal center B cell populations (GL7+ and BCL6+ B cells) in the draining lymph nodes (dLNs). MPLA+PUUC NPs further boosted spike protein-neutralizing antibody titers and T follicular helper cell populations in the dLNs. These results suggest that protein subunit vaccines with particle-delivered molecular adjuvants targeting TLR4 and RIG-I could lead to robust and unique route-specific adaptive immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.

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L-Cysteine, 97%