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Title: Graph-based optimization of epitope coverage for vaccine antigen design

Abstract

Epigraph is a recently developed algorithm that enables the computationally efficient design of single or multi-antigen vaccines to maximize the potential epitope coverage for a diverse pathogen population. Potential epitopes are defined as short contiguous stretches of proteins, comparable in length to T-cell epitopes. This optimal coverage problem can be formulated in terms of a directed graph, with candidate antigens represented as paths that traverse this graph. Epigraph protein sequences can also be used as the basis for designing peptides for experimental evaluation of immune responses in natural infections to highly variable proteins. The epigraph tool suite also enables rapid characterization of populations of diverse sequences from an immunological perspective. Fundamental distance measures are based on immunologically relevant shared potential epitope frequencies, rather than simple Hamming or phylogenetic distances. Here, we provide a mathematical description of the epigraph algorithm, include a comparison of different heuristics that can be used when graphs are not acyclic, and we describe an additional tool we have added to the web-based epigraph tool suite that provides frequency summaries of all distinct potential epitopes in a population. Lastly, we also show examples of the graphical output and summary tables that can be generated using the epigraphmore » tool suite and explain their content and applications.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); New Mexico Consortium, Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
National Institutes of Health (NIH); USDOE; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
OSTI Identifier:
1343714
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-26417
Journal ID: ISSN 0277-6715
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Statistics in Medicine
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 37; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0277-6715
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; biological science; vaccine; epitope; antigen; algorithm; directed acyclic graph; de Bruijn graph

Citation Formats

Theiler, James Patrick, and Korber, Bette Tina Marie. Graph-based optimization of epitope coverage for vaccine antigen design. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/sim.7203.
Theiler, James Patrick, & Korber, Bette Tina Marie. Graph-based optimization of epitope coverage for vaccine antigen design. United States. doi:10.1002/sim.7203.
Theiler, James Patrick, and Korber, Bette Tina Marie. Sun . "Graph-based optimization of epitope coverage for vaccine antigen design". United States. doi:10.1002/sim.7203. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1343714.
@article{osti_1343714,
title = {Graph-based optimization of epitope coverage for vaccine antigen design},
author = {Theiler, James Patrick and Korber, Bette Tina Marie},
abstractNote = {Epigraph is a recently developed algorithm that enables the computationally efficient design of single or multi-antigen vaccines to maximize the potential epitope coverage for a diverse pathogen population. Potential epitopes are defined as short contiguous stretches of proteins, comparable in length to T-cell epitopes. This optimal coverage problem can be formulated in terms of a directed graph, with candidate antigens represented as paths that traverse this graph. Epigraph protein sequences can also be used as the basis for designing peptides for experimental evaluation of immune responses in natural infections to highly variable proteins. The epigraph tool suite also enables rapid characterization of populations of diverse sequences from an immunological perspective. Fundamental distance measures are based on immunologically relevant shared potential epitope frequencies, rather than simple Hamming or phylogenetic distances. Here, we provide a mathematical description of the epigraph algorithm, include a comparison of different heuristics that can be used when graphs are not acyclic, and we describe an additional tool we have added to the web-based epigraph tool suite that provides frequency summaries of all distinct potential epitopes in a population. Lastly, we also show examples of the graphical output and summary tables that can be generated using the epigraph tool suite and explain their content and applications.},
doi = {10.1002/sim.7203},
journal = {Statistics in Medicine},
number = 2,
volume = 37,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 29 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Sun Jan 29 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • Prime-boost immunization with gene-based vectors has been developed to generate more effective vaccines for AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Although these vectors elicit potent T cell responses, the mechanisms by which they stimulate immunity are not well understood. In this study, we show that immunization by a single gene product, HIV-1 envelope, with alternative vector combinations elicits CD8{sup +} cells with different fine specificities and kinetics of mobilization. Vaccine-induced CD8{sup +} T cells recognized overlapping third V region loop peptides. Unexpectedly, two anchor variants bound H-2D{sup d} better than the native sequences, and clones with distinct specificities were elicited by alternativemore » vectors. X-ray crystallography revealed major differences in solvent exposure of MHC-bound peptide epitopes, suggesting that processed HIV-1 envelope gave rise to MHC-I/peptide conformations recognized by distinct CD8{sup +} T cell populations. These findings suggest that different gene-based vectors generate peptides with alternative conformations within MHC-I that elicit distinct T cell responses after vaccination.« less
  • Prime-boost immunization with gene-based vectors has been developed to generate more effective vaccines for AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Although these vectors elicit potent T cell responses, the mechanisms by which they stimulate immunity are not well understood. In this study, we show that immunization by a single gene product, HIV-1 envelope, with alternative vector combinations elicits CD8{sup +} cells with different fine specificities and kinetics of mobilization. Vaccine-induced CD8{sup +} T cells recognized overlapping third V region loop peptides. Unexpectedly, two anchor variants bound H-2D{sup d} better than the native sequences, and clones with distinct specificities were elicited by alternativemore » vectors. X-ray crystallography revealed major differences in solvent exposure of MHC-bound peptide epitopes, suggesting that processed HIV-1 envelope gave rise to MHC-I/peptide conformations recognized by distinct CD8{sup +} T cell populations. These findings suggest that different gene-based vectors generate peptides with alternative conformations within MHC-I that elicit distinct T cell responses after vaccination.« less
  • The 2L21 epitope of the VP2 protein from the canine parvovirus (CPV), fused to the cholera toxin B subunit (CTB-2L21), was expressed in transgenic tobacco chloroplasts. Mice and rabbits that received protein-enriched leaf extracts by parenteral route produced high titers of anti-2L21 antibodies able to recognize the VP2 protein. Rabbit sera were able to neutralize CPV in an in vitro infection assay with an efficacy similar to the anti-2L21 neutralizing monoclonal antibody 3C9. Anti-2L21 IgG and seric IgA antibodies were elicited when mice were gavaged with a suspension of pulverized tissues from CTB-2L21 transformed plants. Combined immunization (a single parenteralmore » injection followed by oral boosters) shows that oral boosters help to maintain the anti-2L21 IgG response induced after a single injection, whereas parenteral administration of the antigen primes the subsequent oral boosters by promoting the induction of anti-2L21 seric IgA antibodies. Despite the induced humoral response, antibodies elicited by oral delivery did not show neutralizing capacity in the in vitro assay. The high yield of the fusion protein permits the preparation of a high number of vaccine doses from a single plant and makes feasible the oral vaccination using a small amount of crude plant material. However, a big effort has still to be done to enhance the protective efficacy of subunit vaccines by the oral route.« less
  • Modification of the primary anchor positions of antigenic peptides to improve binding to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins is a commonly used strategy for engineering peptide-based vaccine candidates. However, such peptide modifications do not always improve antigenicity, complicating efforts to design effective vaccines for cancer and infectious disease. Here we investigated the MART-1{sub 27-35} tumor antigen, for which anchor modification (replacement of the position two alanine with leucine) dramatically reduces or ablates antigenicity with a wide range of T cell clones despite significantly improving peptide binding to MHC. We found that anchor modification in the MART-1{sub 27-35} antigen enhances themore » flexibility of both the peptide and the HLA-A*0201 molecule. Although the resulting entropic effects contribute to the improved binding of the peptide to MHC, they also negatively impact T cell receptor binding to the peptide {center_dot} MHC complex. These results help explain how the 'anchor-fixing' strategy fails to improve antigenicity in this case, and more generally, may be relevant for understanding the high specificity characteristic of the T cell repertoire. In addition to impacting vaccine design, modulation of peptide and MHC flexibility through changes to antigenic peptides may present an evolutionary strategy for the escape of pathogens from immune destruction.« less
  • Antibody Z13e1 is a relatively broadly neutralizing anti-human immunodeficiency virus type 1 antibody that recognizes the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope glycoprotein gp41. Based on the crystal structure of an MPER epitope peptide in complex with Z13e1 Fab, we identified an unrelated protein, interleukin (IL)-22, with a surface-exposed region that is structurally homologous in its backbone to the gp41 Z13e1 epitope. By grafting the gp41 Z13e1 epitope sequence onto the structurally homologous region in IL-22, we engineered a novel protein (Z13-IL22-2) that contains the MPER epitope sequence for use as a potential immunogenmore » and as a reagent for the detection of Z13e1-like antibodies. The Z13-IL22-2 protein binds Fab Z13e1 with a K{sub d} of 73 nM. The crystal structure of Z13-IL22-2 in complex with Fab Z13e1 shows that the epitope region is faithfully replicated in the Fab-bound scaffold protein; however, isothermal calorimetry studies indicate that Fab binding to Z13-IL22-2 is not a lock-and-key event, leaving open the question of whether conformational changes upon binding occur in the Fab, in Z13-IL-22, or in both.« less