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Designing of multi-epitope peptide vaccine against Acinetobacter baumannii through combined immunoinformatics and protein interaction-based approaches.

Acinetobacter baumannii is one of the major pathogenic ESKAPE bacterium, which is responsible for about more than 722,000 cases in a year, globally. Despite the alarming increase in multidrug resistance, a safe and effective vaccine for Acinetobacter infections is still not available. Hence in the current study, a multiepitope vaccine construct was developed using linear B cell, cytotoxic T cell, and helper T cell epitopes from the antigenic and well-conserved lipopolysaccharide assembly proteins employing systematic immunoinformatics and structural vaccinology strategies. The multi-peptide vaccine was predicted to be highly antigenic, non-allergenic, non-toxic, and cover maximum population coverage worldwide. Further, the vaccine construct was modeled along with adjuvant and peptide linkers and validated to achieve a high-quality three-dimensional structure which was subsequently utilized for cytokine prediction, disulfide engineering, and docking analyses with Toll-like receptor (TLR4). Ramachandran plot showed 98.3% of the residues were located in the most favorable and permitted regions, thereby corroborating the feasibility of the modeled vaccine construct. Molecular dynamics simulation for a 100 ns timeframe further confirmed the stability of the binding vaccine-receptor complex. Finally, in silico cloning and codon adaptation were also performed with the pET28a (+) plasmid vector to determine the efficiency of expression and translation of the vaccine. Immune simulation studies demonstrated that the vaccine could trigger both B and T cell responses and can elicit strong primary, secondary, and tertiary immune responses. The designed multi-peptide subunit vaccine would certainly expedite the experimental approach for the development of a vaccine against A. baumannii infection.

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