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Infect Immun 2013 Jan;81(1):278-84

Use of Site-directed Mutagenesis to Model the Effects of Spontaneous Deamidation on the Immunogenicity of Bacillus anthracis Protective Antigen.

Verma A, McNichol B, Domínguez-Castillo RI, Amador-Molina JC, Arciniega JL, Reiter K, Meade BD, Ngundi MM, Stibitz S, Burns DL


Long-term stability is a desired characteristic of vaccines, especially anthrax vaccines which must be stockpiled for large-scale use in an emergency situation; however, spontaneous deamidation of purified vaccine antigens has the potential to adversely affect vaccine immunogenicity over time. In order to explore whether spontaneous deamidation of recombinant protective antigen (rPA)-the major component of new generation anthrax vaccines-affects vaccine immunogenicity, we created a "genetically deamidated" forms of rPA using site-directed mutagenesis to replace six deamidation-prone asparagine residues, at positions 408, 466, 537, 601, 713, and 719, with either aspartate, glutamine, or alanine residues. We found that the structure of this six-Asp mutant rPA was not significantly altered relative to that of the wild-type protein as assessed by CD spectroscopy and biological activity. In contrast, immunogenicity of aluminum-adjuvanted six-Asp mutant rPA, as measured by induction of toxin neutralizing antibodies, was significantly lower than that of the corresponding wild-type rPA vaccine formulation. The six-Gln and six-Ala mutants also exhibited lower immunogenicity as compared to the wild-type. While the wild-type rPA vaccine formulation exhibited a high level of immunogenicity initially, its immunogenicity declined significantly upon storage at 25°C for 4 weeks. In contrast, the immunogenicity of the six-Asp mutant rPA vaccine formulation was low initially but did not change significantly upon storage. Taken together, results from this study suggest that spontaneous deamidation of asparagine residues predicted to occur during storage of rPA vaccines would adversely affect vaccine immunogenicity and therefore the storage life of vaccines.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #23115046 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00863-12
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2012-08-13 Entry Last Modified: 2013-04-13