Synthetic peptides have been shown to evoke neutralizing and cytotoxic protective anti-HIV responses in mice and other animal models. Recent data support that C4V3 peptides can induce anti-V3 antibodies that neutralize primary isolates. Critical to the success of peptide-based vaccines is the development of strategies to augment their immunogenicity while reducing their large-scale production costs. Therefore, finding efficient and economical alternatives for the production of epitopic vaccines could have an impact on researches using such immunogens. Herein, we report the recombinant production and immunological characterization of a short polypeptide which carries the three relevant epitopes contained in a C4V3 peptide. This polypeptide, named rC4V3, was efficiently produced in E. coli, yielding more than 75 mg per culture liter. No major difficulties were found in the recovery, refolding and purification of this peptide; the latter facilitated by C-terminal inclusion of a histidine tag. The immunogenicity of this protein was studied by administering it intramuscularly or intranasally to mice and it demonstrated to be a strong elicitor of anti-HIV antibodies at systemic and mucosal compartments. Remarkably, such responses were attained with rC4V3 even without the need of adjuvants. We can conclude that this protein might be a promising tool for studies using epitope-based vaccine designs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine