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Safe plant Hsp90 adjuvants elicit an effective immune response against SARS-CoV2-derived RBD antigen.

Vaccine 2024 April 18
To better understand the role of pHsp90 adjuvant in immune response modulation, we proposed the use of the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of the Spike protein of SARS-CoV2, the principal candidate in the design of subunit vaccines. We evaluated the humoral and cellular immune responses against RBD through the strategy "protein mixture" (Adjuvant + Antigen). The rRBD adjuvanted with rAtHsp81.2 group showed a higher increase of the anti-rRBD IgG1, while the rRBD adjuvanted with rNbHsp90.3 group showed a significant increase in anti-rRBD IgG2b/2a. These results were consistent with the cellular immune response analysis. Spleen cell cultures from rRBD + rNbHsp90.3-immunized mice showed significantly increased IFN-γ production. In contrast, spleen cell cultures from rRBD + rAtHsp81.2-immunized mice showed significantly increased IL-4 levels. Finally, vaccines adjuvanted with rNbHsp90.3 induced higher neutralizing antibody responses compared to those adjuvanted with rAtHsp81.2. To know whether both chaperones must form complexes to generate an effective immune response, we performed co-immunoprecipitation (co-IP) assays. The results indicated that the greater neutralizing capacity observed in the rRBD adjuvanted with rNbHsp90.3 group would be given by the rRBD-rNbHsp90.3 interaction rather than by the quality of the immune response triggered by the adjuvants. These results, together with our previous results, provide a comparative benchmark of these two novel and safe vaccine adjuvants for their capacity to stimulate immunity to a subunit vaccine, demonstrating the capacity of adjuvanted SARS-CoV2 subunit vaccines. Furthermore, these results revealed differences in the ability to modulate the immune response between these two pHsp90s, highlighting the importance of adjuvant selection for future rational vaccine and adjuvant design.

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