Peptide-free Synthetic Nicotine Vaccine Candidates
Peptides are generally needed as T-helper epitopes in Nicotine vaccines to induce effective antibody responses, but the highly polymorphic property of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules may limit opportunities of B cell to receive CD4+ T-cell help.
Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells recognize lipid antigens presented by the nonpolymorphic CD1d molecule that is conserved in mammals to a great extent. iNKT cells also display some similar functions to conventional CD4+ T-helper cells, especially they license dendritic cells stimulate antibody isotype switching by B cells. Herein, α-galactosylceramide (αGalCer), a classical iNKT cell agonist, serves as an adjuvant in Synthetic Nicotine vaccine candidates absent of peptide or protein.
Our study reveals that αGalCer displays better adjuvant activity than Pam3CSK4 (a commonly used lipopeptide TLR agonist). Remarkably, the covalent linker between the nicotine hapten and αGalCer is not critical. Self-assembly of the lipid-tailed Nicotine and αGalCer into the liposome represents a structurally simple but immunologically effective way to develop Nicotine vaccines. This is the first time to introduce the iNKT cell agonist as an adjuvant to an antidrug vaccine. This discovery may contribute to improving the efficacy of clinical candidate nicotine vaccines in the future.
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