The efficiency of epitope-based vaccination (subunit vaccines) is tightly correlated with heterogeneity and the high density of epitope presentation, which maximizes the potential antigenic determinants. Here, we developed a two-mode platform for intensifying the epitope presentation of subunit vaccines. The two-mode epitope presentation enhancement includes a covalent attachment of high concentrations of SARS-CoV-2-S1 peptide epitope to the surface of virus-like-particles (VLPs) and the subsequent assembly of VLP/epitope conjugates on the oil droplet surface at an oil/water interface of an emulsion as Pickering stabilizers. The resultant emulsions were stable for weeks in ambient conditions, and our platform was challenged using the epitope of the SARS-CoV-2-S1 peptide that served as a model epitope in this study. In vivo assays showed that the αSARS-CoV-2-S1 immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers of the studied mouse antisera, developed against the SARS-CoV-2-S1 peptide under different epitope preparation conditions, showed an order of magnitude higher IgG titers in the studied VLP-based emulsions than epitopes dissolved in water and epitopes administered with an adjuvant, thereby confirming the efficacy of the formulation. This VLP-based Pickering emulsion platform is a fully synthetic approach that can be readily applied for vaccine development to a wide range of pathogens.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Chemical Society.
- Pickering emulsion
- epitope-based vaccination
- plant virus
- subunit vaccines