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1.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765948

ABSTRACT

The toxicity of mRNA-lipid nanoparticle (LNP) vaccines depends on the total mRNA-LNP dose. We established that the maximum tolerated dose of our trivalent mRNA-LNP genital herpes vaccine was 10 µg/immunization in mice. We then evaluated one of the mRNAs, gD2 mRNA-LNP, to determine how much of the 10 µg total dose to assign to this immunogen. We immunized mice with 0.3, 1.0, 3.0, or 10 µg of gD2 mRNA-LNP and measured serum IgG ELISA, neutralizing antibodies, and antibodies to six crucial gD2 epitopes involved in virus entry and spread. Antibodies to crucial gD2 epitopes peaked at 1 µg, while ELISA and neutralizing titers continued to increase at higher doses. The epitope results suggested no immunologic benefit above 1 µg of gD2 mRNA-LNP, while ELISA and neutralizing titers indicated higher doses may be useful. We challenged the gD2 mRNA-immunized mice intravaginally with HSV-2. The 1-µg dose provided total protection, confirming the epitope studies, and supported assigning less than one-third of the trivalent vaccine maximum dose of 10 µg to gD2 mRNA-LNP. Epitope mapping as performed in mice can also be accomplished in phase 1 human trials to help select the optimum dose of each immunogen in a multivalent vaccine.


Subject(s)
Herpes Genitalis , Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Epitopes , Herpes Genitalis/prevention & control , Herpesvirus 2, Human/genetics , Liposomes , Mice , Nanoparticles , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305293

ABSTRACT

Concerns with current mRNA Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) systems include dose-limiting reactogenicity, adverse events that may be partly due to systemic off target expression of the immunogen, and a very limited understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the frozen storage requirement. We applied a new rational design process to identify a novel multiprotic ionizable lipid, called C24, as the key component of the mRNA LNP delivery system. We show that the resulting C24 LNP has a multistage protonation behavior resulting in greater endosomal protonation and greater translation of an mRNA-encoded luciferase reporter after intramuscular (IM) administration compared to the standard reference MC3 LNP. Off-target expression in liver after IM administration was reduced 6 fold for the C24 LNP compared to MC3. Neutralizing titers in immunogenicity studies delivering a nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding for the diproline stabilized spike protein immunogen were 10 fold higher for the C24 LNP versus MC3, and protection against viral challenge in a SARS-CoV-2 mouse model occurred at a very low 0.25 µg prime/boost dose of the same immunogen in the C24 LNP. Injection site inflammation was notably reduced for C24 compared to MC3. In addition, we found the C24 LNP to be entirely stable in bioactivity and mRNA integrity when stored at 4 ºC for at least 19 days. Storage at higher temperatures reduced both bioactivity and mRNA integrity, but less so for C24 than MC3, and in a manner consistent with the phosphodiester transesterification reaction mechanism of mRNA cleavage. The higher potency, lower injection site inflammation, and higher stability of the C24 LNP present important advancements in the evolution mRNA vaccine delivery.

3.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(12)2021 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593566

ABSTRACT

Vaccination is a key component of public health policy with demonstrated cost-effective benefits in protecting both human and animal populations. Vaccines can be manufactured under multiple forms including, inactivated (killed), toxoid, live attenuated, Virus-like Particles, synthetic peptide, polysaccharide, polysaccharide conjugate (glycoconjugate), viral vectored (vector-based), nucleic acids (DNA and mRNA) and bacterial vector/synthetic antigen presenting cells. Several processes are used in the manufacturing of vaccines and recent developments in medical/biomedical engineering, biology, immunology, and vaccinology have led to the emergence of innovative nucleic acid vaccines, a novel category added to conventional and subunit vaccines. In this review, we have summarized recent advances in vaccine technologies and platforms focusing on their mechanisms of action, advantages, and possible drawbacks.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296703

ABSTRACT

Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC), including the highly transmissible delta strain, has posed challenges to current COVID-19 vaccines that principally target the viral spike protein (S). Here, we report a nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine that expresses the more conserved viral nucleoprotein (mRNA-N). We show that mRNA-N alone was able to induce a modest but significant control of SARS-CoV-2 in mice and hamsters. Critically, by combining mRNA-N with the clinically approved S-expressing mRNA vaccine (mRNA-S-2P), we found that combinatorial mRNA vaccination (mRNA-S+N) led to markedly enhanced protection against the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant compared to mRNA-S. In a hamster model, we demonstrated that while mRNA-S alone elicited significant control of the delta strain in the lungs (~45-fold reduction in viral loads compared to un-vaccinated control), its effectiveness in the upper respiratory tract was weak, whereas combinatorial mRNA-S+N vaccination induced markedly more robust control of the delta variant infection in the lungs (~450-fold reduction) as well as in the upper respiratory tract (~20-fold reduction). Immune analyses indicated that induction of N-specific immunity as well as augmented S-specific T-cell response and neutralizing antibody activity were collectively associated the enhanced protection against SARS-CoV-2 delta strain by combinatorial mRNA vaccination. These findings suggest that the combined effects of protection in the lungs and upper respiratory tract could both reduce the risk of severe disease as well as of infection and transmission.

5.
J Clin Invest ; 131(23)2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571525

ABSTRACT

Nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines have gained global attention because of COVID-19. We evaluated a similar vaccine approach for preventing a chronic, latent genital infection rather than an acute respiratory infection. We used animal models to compare an HSV-2 trivalent nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine with the same antigens prepared as proteins, with an emphasis on antigen-specific memory B cell responses and immune correlates of protection. In guinea pigs, serum neutralizing-antibody titers were higher at 1 month and declined far less by 8 months in mRNA- compared with protein-immunized animals. Both vaccines protected against death and genital lesions when infected 1 month after immunization; however, protection was more durable in the mRNA group compared with the protein group when infected after 8 months, an interval representing greater than 15% of the animal's lifespan. Serum and vaginal neutralizing-antibody titers correlated with protection against infection, as measured by genital lesions and vaginal virus titers 2 days after infection. In mice, the mRNA vaccine generated more antigen-specific memory B cells than the protein vaccine at early times after immunization that persisted for up to 1 year. High neutralizing titers and robust B cell immune memory likely explain the more durable protection by the HSV-2 mRNA vaccine.


Subject(s)
Herpes Genitalis , Herpesvirus 2, Human/immunology , Immunologic Memory , RNA, Viral/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Guinea Pigs , Herpes Genitalis/immunology , Herpes Genitalis/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
6.
Immunity ; 54(12): 2877-2892.e7, 2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499988

ABSTRACT

Adjuvants are critical for improving the quality and magnitude of adaptive immune responses to vaccination. Lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccines have shown great efficacy against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), but the mechanism of action of this vaccine platform is not well-characterized. Using influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 mRNA and protein subunit vaccines, we demonstrated that our LNP formulation has intrinsic adjuvant activity that promotes induction of strong T follicular helper cell, germinal center B cell, long-lived plasma cell, and memory B cell responses that are associated with durable and protective antibodies in mice. Comparative experiments demonstrated that this LNP formulation outperformed a widely used MF59-like adjuvant, AddaVax. The adjuvant activity of the LNP relies on the ionizable lipid component and on IL-6 cytokine induction but not on MyD88- or MAVS-dependent sensing of LNPs. Our study identified LNPs as a versatile adjuvant that enhances the efficacy of traditional and next-generation vaccine platforms.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Germinal Center/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , /immunology , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/genetics , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Adjuvants, Immunologic , Animals , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Interleukin-6/genetics , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Liposomes/administration & dosage , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Nanoparticles/administration & dosage , Protein Subunits/genetics , /genetics
7.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(1)2021 Jan 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389566

ABSTRACT

The recent success of mRNA vaccines in SARS-CoV-2 clinical trials is in part due to the development of lipid nanoparticle delivery systems that not only efficiently express the mRNA-encoded immunogen after intramuscular injection, but also play roles as adjuvants and in vaccine reactogenicity. We present an overview of mRNA delivery systems and then focus on the lipid nanoparticles used in the current SARS-CoV-2 vaccine clinical trials. The review concludes with an analysis of the determinants of the performance of lipid nanoparticles in mRNA vaccines.

8.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 956, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354120

ABSTRACT

Lipid Nanoparticles (LNPs) are used to deliver siRNA and COVID-19 mRNA vaccines. The main factor known to determine their delivery efficiency is the pKa of the LNP containing an ionizable lipid. Herein, we report a method that can predict the LNP pKa from the structure of the ionizable lipid. We used theoretical, NMR, fluorescent-dye binding, and electrophoretic mobility methods to comprehensively measure protonation of both the ionizable lipid and the formulated LNP. The pKa of the ionizable lipid was 2-3 units higher than the pKa of the LNP primarily due to proton solvation energy differences between the LNP and aqueous medium. We exploited these results to explain a wide range of delivery efficiencies in vitro and in vivo for intramuscular (IM) and intravascular (IV) administration of different ionizable lipids at escalating ionizable lipid-to-mRNA ratios in the LNP. In addition, we determined that more negatively charged LNPs exhibit higher off-target systemic expression of mRNA in the liver following IM administration. This undesirable systemic off-target expression of mRNA-LNP vaccines could be minimized through appropriate design of the ionizable lipid and LNP.


Subject(s)
Gene Expression , Ions/chemistry , Lipids/chemistry , Nanoparticles/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/chemistry , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Administration, Intravenous , Animals , Drug Compounding , Humans , Hydrogen-Ion Concentration , Injections, Intramuscular , Mice , Molecular Structure , Nanoparticles/ultrastructure , RNA, Messenger/administration & dosage , RNA, Messenger/pharmacokinetics , Spectrum Analysis , Tissue Distribution , Transfection
9.
Mol Ther ; 29(11): 3293-3304, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253754

ABSTRACT

Nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (mRNA)-lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) are the basis for the first two EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) COVID-19 vaccines. The use of nucleoside-modified mRNA as a pharmacological agent opens immense opportunities for therapeutic, prophylactic and diagnostic molecular interventions. In particular, mRNA-based drugs may specifically modulate immune cells, such as T lymphocytes, for immunotherapy of oncologic, infectious and other conditions. The key challenge, however, is that T cells are notoriously resistant to transfection by exogenous mRNA. Here, we report that conjugating CD4 antibody to LNPs enables specific targeting and mRNA interventions to CD4+ cells, including T cells. After systemic injection in mice, CD4-targeted radiolabeled mRNA-LNPs accumulated in spleen, providing ∼30-fold higher signal of reporter mRNA in T cells isolated from spleen as compared with non-targeted mRNA-LNPs. Intravenous injection of CD4-targeted LNPs loaded with Cre recombinase-encoding mRNA provided specific dose-dependent loxP-mediated genetic recombination, resulting in reporter gene expression in about 60% and 40% of CD4+ T cells in spleen and lymph nodes, respectively. T cell phenotyping showed uniform transfection of T cell subpopulations, with no variability in uptake of CD4-targeted mRNA-LNPs in naive, central memory, and effector cells. The specific and efficient targeting and transfection of mRNA to T cells established in this study provides a platform technology for immunotherapy of devastating conditions and HIV cure.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Lipids/genetics , Lipids/immunology , Nanoparticles/administration & dosage , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/immunology , Recombination, Genetic/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Immunotherapy/methods , Lymph Nodes/immunology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Recombination, Genetic/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spleen/immunology , Transfection/methods
10.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(1)2021 Jan 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1041346

ABSTRACT

The recent success of mRNA vaccines in SARS-CoV-2 clinical trials is in part due to the development of lipid nanoparticle delivery systems that not only efficiently express the mRNA-encoded immunogen after intramuscular injection, but also play roles as adjuvants and in vaccine reactogenicity. We present an overview of mRNA delivery systems and then focus on the lipid nanoparticles used in the current SARS-CoV-2 vaccine clinical trials. The review concludes with an analysis of the determinants of the performance of lipid nanoparticles in mRNA vaccines.

11.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(1): 23-31.e4, 2021 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-956078

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein acquired a D614G mutation early in the pandemic that confers greater infectivity and is now the globally dominant form. To determine whether D614G might also mediate neutralization escape that could compromise vaccine efficacy, sera from spike-immunized mice, nonhuman primates, and humans were evaluated for neutralization of pseudoviruses bearing either D614 or G614 spike. In all cases, the G614 pseudovirus was moderately more susceptible to neutralization. The G614 pseudovirus also was more susceptible to neutralization by receptor-binding domain (RBD) monoclonal antibodies and convalescent sera from people infected with either form of the virus. Negative stain electron microscopy revealed a higher percentage of the 1-RBD "up" conformation in the G614 spike, suggesting increased epitope exposure as a mechanism of enhanced vulnerability to neutralization. Based on these findings, the D614G mutation is not expected to be an obstacle for current vaccine development.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Binding Sites , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Macaca mulatta , Male , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Young Adult
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