Immunoinformatic-guided designing and evaluating protein and mRNA-based vaccines against Cryptococcus neoformans for immunocompromised patients

Amir Elalouf, Amit Yaniv-Rosenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that can cause serious meningoencephalitis in individuals with compromised immune systems due to HIV/AIDS (human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), liver cirrhosis, and transplantation. Mannoproteins (MPs), glycoproteins in the C. neoformans capsule, crucially impact virulence by mediating adhesion to lung cells and modulating immune response via cytokine induction and phagocytosis influence. Therefore, creating a vaccine that can generate targeted antibodies to fight infection and prevent fungal illnesses is essential. Results: This research aims to create a unique, stable, and safe vaccine through bioinformatics methodologies, aiming at epitopes of T and B cells found in the MP of C. neoformans. Based on toxicity, immunogenicity, and antigenicity, this research predicted novel T cells (GNPVGGNVT, NPVGGNVTT, QTSYARLLS, TSVGNGIAS, WVMPGDYTN, AAATGSSSSGSTGSG, GSTGSGSGSAAAGST, SGSTGSGSGSAAAGS, SSGSTGSGSGSAAAG, and SSSGSTGSGSGSAAA) and B cell (ANGSTSTFQQRYTGTYTNGDGSLGTWTQGETVTPQTAYSTPATSNCKTYTSVGNGIASLALSNAGSNSTAAATNSSSGGASAAATGSSSSGSTGSGSGSAAAGSTAAASSSGDSSSSTSAAMSNGI, HGATGLGNPVGGNVTT, TMGPTNPSEPTLGTAI, GNPVGGNVTTNATGSD, and NSTAAATNSSSGGASA) epitopes for a multiple-epitope vaccine and constructed a vaccine subunit with potential immunogenic properties. The present study used four linkers (AAY, GPGPG, KK, and EAAAK linkers) to connect the epitopes and adjuvant. After constructing the vaccine, it was confronted with receptor docking and simulation analysis. Subsequently, the vaccine was cloned into the vector of Escherichia coli pET-28a (+) by ligation process for the expression using the SnapGene tool, which confirmed a significant immune response. To assess the constructed vaccine’s properties, multiple computational tools were employed. Based on the MP sequence, the tools evaluated the antigenicity, immunogenicity, cytokine-inducing capacity, allergenicity, toxicity, population coverage, and solubility. Conclusion: Eventually, the results revealed a promising multi-epitope vaccine as a potential candidate for addressing global C. neoformans infection, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Yet, additional in vitro and in vivo investigations are necessary to validate its safety and effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108
JournalJournal of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 26 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Fungal vaccine
  • In silico vaccine
  • Mannoprotein

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Biotechnology

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