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1.  Ether lipid vesicle-based antigens impart protection against experimental listeriosis 
Incidence of food-borne infections from Listeria monocytogenes, a parasite that has adapted intracellular residence to avoid antibody onslaught, has increased dramatically in the past few years. The apparent lack of an effective vaccine that is capable of evoking the desired cytotoxic T cell response to obliterate this intracellular pathogen has encouraged the investigation of alternate prophylactic strategies. It should also be noted that Archaebacteria (Archae) lipid-based adjuvants enhance the efficacy of subunit vaccines. In the present study, the adjuvant properties of archaeosomes (liposomes prepared from total polar lipids of archaebacteria, Halobacterium salinarum) combined with immunogenic culture supernatant antigens of L. monocytogenes have been exploited in designing a vaccine candidate against experimental listeriosis in murine model.
Archaeosome-entrapped secretory protein antigens (SAgs) of L. monocytogenes were evaluated for their immunological responses and tendency to deplete bacterial burden in BALB/c mice challenged with sublethal listerial infection. Various immunological studies involving cytokine profiling, lymphocyte proliferation assay, detection of various surface markers (by flowcytometric analysis), and antibody isotypes (by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were used for establishing the vaccine potential of archaeosome-entrapped secretory proteins.
Immunization schedule involving archaeosome-encapsulated SAgs resulted in upregulation of Th1 cytokine production along with boosted memory in BALB/c mice. It also showed protective effect by reducing listerial burden in various vital organs (liver and spleen) of the infected mice. However, the soluble form of the antigens (SAgs) and their physical mixture with sham (empty) archaeosomes, besides showing feeble Th1 response, were unable to protect the animals against virulent listerial infection.
On the basis of the evidence provided by the current data, it is inferred that archaeosome-entrapped SAgs formulation not only enhances cytotoxic T cell response but also helps in the clearance of pathogens and thereby increases the survival of the immunized animals.
PMCID: PMC3383290  PMID: 22745536
archaeosome; culture supernatant; antigen-presenting cells; Th1 cytokines; co- stimulatory markers; lymphocyte proliferation; protection studies
2.  Archaeosome Vaccine Adjuvants Induce Strong Humoral, Cell-Mediated, and Memory Responses: Comparison to Conventional Liposomes and Alum† 
Infection and Immunity  2000;68(1):54-63.
Ether glycerolipids extracted from various archaeobacteria were formulated into liposomes (archaeosomes) possessing strong adjuvant properties. Mice of varying genetic backgrounds, immunized by different parenteral routes with bovine serum albumin (BSA) entrapped in archaeosomes (∼200-nm vesicles), demonstrated markedly enhanced serum anti-BSA antibody titers. These titers were often comparable to those achieved with Freund's adjuvant and considerably more than those with alum or conventional liposomes (phosphatidylcholine-phosphatidylglycerol-cholesterol, 1.8:0.2:1.5 molar ratio). Furthermore, antigen-specific immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), IgG2a, and IgG2b isotype antibodies were all induced. Association of BSA with the lipid vesicles was required for induction of a strong response, and >80% of the protein was internalized within most archaeosome types, suggesting efficient release of antigen in vivo. Encapsulation of ovalbumin and hen egg lysozyme within archaeosomes showed similar immune responses. Antigen-archaeosome immunizations also induced a strong cell-mediated immune response: antigen-dependent proliferation and substantial production of cytokines gamma interferon (Th1) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) (Th2) by spleen cells in vitro. In contrast, conventional liposomes induced little cell-mediated immunity, whereas alum stimulated only an IL-4 response. In contrast to alum and Freund's adjuvant, archaeosomes composed of Thermoplasma acidophilum lipids evoked a dramatic memory antibody response to the encapsulated protein (at ∼300 days) after only two initial immunizations (days 0 and 14). This correlated with increased antigen-specific cell cycling of CD4+ T cells: increase in synthetic (S) and mitotic (G2/M) and decrease in resting (G1) phases. Thus, archaeosomes may be potent vaccine carriers capable of facilitating strong primary and memory humoral, and cell-mediated immune responses to the entrapped antigen.
PMCID: PMC97101  PMID: 10603368
3.  Archaeosomes varying in lipid composition differ in receptor-mediated endocytosis and differentially adjuvant immune responses to entrapped antigen 
Archaea  2003;1(3):151-164.
Archaeosomes prepared from total polar lipids extracted from six archaeal species with divergent lipid compositions had the capacity to deliver antigen for presentation via both MHC class I and class II pathways. Lipid extracts from Halobacterium halobium and from Halococcus morrhuae strains 14039 and 16008 contained archaetidylglycerol methylphosphate and sulfated glycolipids rich in mannose residues, and lacked archaetidylserine, whereas the opposite was found in Methanobrevibacter smithii, Methanosarcina mazei and Methanococcus jannaschii. Annexin V labeling revealed a surface orientation of phosphoserine head groups in M. smithii, M. mazei and M. jannaschii archaeosomes. Uptake of rhodamine-labeled M. smithii or M. jannaschii archaeosomes by murine peritoneal macrophages was inhibited by unlabeled liposomes containing phosphatidylserine, by the sulfhydryl inhibitor N-ethylmaleimide, and by ATP depletion using azide plus fluoride, but not by H. halobium archaeosomes. In contrast, N-ethylmaleimide failed to inhibit uptake of the four other rhodamine-labeled archaeosome types, and azide plus fluoride did not inhibit uptake of H. halobium or H. morrhuae archaeosomes. These results suggest endocytosis ofarchaeosomes rich in surface-exposed phosphoserine head groups via a phosphatidylserine receptor, and energy-independent surface adsorption of certain other archaeosome composition classes. Lipid composition affected not only the endocytic mechanism, but also served to differentially modulate the activation of dendritic cells. The induction of IL-12 secretion from dendritic cells exposed to H. morrhuae 14039 archaeosomes was striking compared with cells exposed to archaeosomes from 16008. Thus, archaeosome types uniquely modulate antigen delivery and dendritic cell activation.
PMCID: PMC2685569  PMID: 15803661
antibody; archaea; cytotoxic T lymphocyte; liposomes; phagocytosis; phosphatidylserine
4.  Archaeosomes made of Halorubrum tebenquichense total polar lipids: a new source of adjuvancy 
BMC Biotechnology  2009;9:71.
Archaeosomes (ARC), vesicles prepared from total polar lipids (TPL) extracted from selected genera and species from the Archaea domain, elicit both antibody and cell-mediated immunity to the entrapped antigen, as well as efficient cross priming of exogenous antigens, evoking a profound memory response. Screening for unexplored Archaea genus as new sources of adjuvancy, here we report the presence of two new Halorubrum tebenquichense strains isolated from grey crystals (GC) and black mood (BM) strata from a littoral Argentinean Patagonia salt flat. Cytotoxicity, intracellular transit and immune response induced by two subcutaneous (sc) administrations (days 0 and 21) with BSA entrapped in ARC made of TPL either form BM (ARC-BM) and from GC (ARC-GC) at 2% w/w (BSA/lipids), to C3H/HeN mice (25 μg BSA, 1.3 mg of archaeal lipids per mouse) and boosted on day 180 with 25 μg of bare BSA, were determined.
DNA G+C content (59.5 and 61.7% mol BM and GC, respectively), 16S rDNA sequentiation, DNA-DNA hybridization, arbitrarily primed fingerprint assay and biochemical data confirmed that BM and GC isolates were two non-previously described strains of H. tebenquichense. Both multilamellar ARC mean size were 564 ± 22 nm, with -50 mV zeta-potential, and were not cytotoxic on Vero cells up to 1 mg/ml and up to 0.1 mg/ml of lipids on J-774 macrophages (XTT method). ARC inner aqueous content remained inside the phago-lysosomal system of J-774 cells beyond the first incubation hour at 37°C, as revealed by pyranine loaded in ARC. Upon subcutaneous immunization of C3H/HeN mice, BSA entrapped in ARC-BM or ARC-GC elicited a strong and sustained primary antibody response, as well as improved specific humoral immunity after boosting with the bare antigen. Both IgG1 and IgG2a enhanced antibody titers could be demonstrated in long-term (200 days) recall suggesting induction of a mixed Th1/Th2 response.
We herein report the finding of new H. tebenquichense non alkaliphilic strains in Argentinean Patagonia together with the adjuvant properties of ARC after sc administration in mice. Our results indicate that archaeosomes prepared with TPL from these two strains could be successfully used as vaccine delivery vehicles.
PMCID: PMC2739508  PMID: 19678953
5.  Archaeosome Adjuvant Overcomes Tolerance to Tumor-Associated Melanoma Antigens Inducing Protective CD8+ T Cell Responses 
Vesicles comprised of the ether glycerolipids of the archaeon Methanobrevibacter smithii (archaeosomes) are potent adjuvants for evoking CD8+ T cell responses. We therefore explored the ability of archaeosomes to overcome immunologic tolerance to self-antigens. Priming and boosting of mice with archaeosome-antigen evoked comparable CD8+ T cell response and tumor protection to an alternate boosting strategy utilizing live bacterial vectors for antigen delivery. Vaccination with melanoma antigenic peptides TRP181-189 and Gp10025-33 delivered in archaeosomes resulted in IFN-γ producing antigen-specific CD8+ T cells with strong cytolytic capability and protection against subcutaneous B16 melanoma. Targeting responses against multiple antigens afforded prolonged median survival against melanoma challenge. Entrapment of multiple peptides within the same vesicle or admixed formulations were both effective at evoking CD8+ T cells against each antigen. Melanoma-antigen archaeosome formulations also afforded therapeutic protection against established B16 tumors when combined with depletion of T-regulatory cells. Overall, we demonstrate that archaeosome adjuvants constitute an effective choice for formulating cancer vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3034908  PMID: 21318177
6.  Liposomes as vaccine delivery systems: a review of the recent advances 
Therapeutic Advances in Vaccines  2014;2(6):159-182.
Liposomes and liposome-derived nanovesicles such as archaeosomes and virosomes have become important carrier systems in vaccine development and the interest for liposome-based vaccines has markedly increased. A key advantage of liposomes, archaeosomes and virosomes in general, and liposome-based vaccine delivery systems in particular, is their versatility and plasticity. Liposome composition and preparation can be chosen to achieve desired features such as selection of lipid, charge, size, size distribution, entrapment and location of antigens or adjuvants. Depending on the chemical properties, water-soluble antigens (proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, haptens) are entrapped within the aqueous inner space of liposomes, whereas lipophilic compounds (lipopeptides, antigens, adjuvants, linker molecules) are intercalated into the lipid bilayer and antigens or adjuvants can be attached to the liposome surface either by adsorption or stable chemical linking. Coformulations containing different types of antigens or adjuvants can be combined with the parameters mentioned to tailor liposomal vaccines for individual applications. Special emphasis is given in this review to cationic adjuvant liposome vaccine formulations. Examples of vaccines made with CAF01, an adjuvant composed of the synthetic immune-stimulating mycobacterial cordfactor glycolipid trehalose dibehenate as immunomodulator and the cationic membrane forming molecule dimethyl dioctadecylammonium are presented. Other vaccines such as cationic liposome–DNA complexes (CLDCs) and other adjuvants like muramyl dipeptide, monophosphoryl lipid A and listeriolysin O are mentioned as well. The field of liposomes and liposome-based vaccines is vast. Therefore, this review concentrates on recent and relevant studies emphasizing current reports dealing with the most studied antigens and adjuvants, and pertinent examples of vaccines. Studies on liposome-based veterinary vaccines and experimental therapeutic cancer vaccines are also summarized.
PMCID: PMC4212474  PMID: 25364509
adjuvants; antigens; archaeosomes; liposomes; therapeutic cancer vaccines; vaccines; veterinary vaccines; virosomes
7.  Induction of Strong and Specific Humoral and T-helper 1 Cellular Responses by HBsAg Entrapped in the Methanobrevibacter smithii Archaeosomes 
Application of adjuvants with microbial origins is a recently highlighted approach in the vaccinology trials. Archaeosomes are among these microbial compounds with both adjuvant and liposomal activities and features.
In the present study, recombinant HBsAg encapsulated into Methanobrevibacter smithii (M. smithii) archaeosomes. Balb/c mice immunized with this compound and humoral and cytokine secretion pattern of immunized models analyzed.
Frequency of IFN-γ secreting cells in the HBsAg-containing archaeosomes group was significantly higher than HBsAg and HBsAg+C/IFA groups (p≤0.05). IgG2a titer in the sera of HBsAg-containing archaeosomes group was also significantly higher than this subclass titer in the other groups (p≤ 0.05).
Analysis of induced responses revealed the immunopotentiating characteristics of M. smithii archaeosomes in the induction of T-helper 1 responses according to the dominance of IgG2a subtype and IFN-γ secreting splenocytes of immunized mice.
PMCID: PMC4224663  PMID: 25414786
Cellular; Hepatitis B surface antigens; Humoral; Immunity; Methanobrevibacter
8.  RD Antigen Based Nanovaccine Imparts Long Term Protection by Inducing Memory Response against Experimental Murine Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22889.
The absence of certain genomic loci that are present in most of the virulent strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as lack of lasting memory responses are some of the major causes attributed to the non effectiveness of Bacille Calmette-Gue'rin (BCG) vaccine. Immunization schedules addressing these issues can offer better strategy for protection against tuberculosis.
The immunological responses evoked upon administration of archaeosome based antigen delivery system comprising T cell antigen, Rv3619c (an ESAT-6 family protein), has been assessed against experimental murine tuberculosis in BALB/c mice.
Archaeosome based subunit vaccine has been found to elicit type-1 cytokines in the immunized mice. Besides effective T cell memory response, the Rv3619c based vaccine was able to reduce mycobacterial burden in the animals challenged with Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
The data of the present study suggest that archaeosome encapsulated RD gene products offer substantial protection against M. tuberculosis infection.
PMCID: PMC3154911  PMID: 21853054
9.  Preparation and Characterization of Stealth Archaeosomes Based on a Synthetic PEGylated Archaeal Tetraether Lipid 
Journal of Drug Delivery  2011;2011:396068.
The present studies were focused on the formation and characterization of sterically stabilized archaeosomes made from a synthetic PEGylated archaeal lipid. In a first step, a synthetic archaeal tetraether bipolar lipid was functionalized with a poly(ethylene glycol), PEG, and (PEG45-Tetraether) with the aim of coating the archaeosome surface with a sterically stabilizing hydrophilic polymer. In a second step, Egg-PC/PEG45-Tetraether (90/10 wt%) archaeosomes were prepared, and their physicochemical characteristics were determined by dynamic light scattering (size, polydispersity), cryo-TEM (morphology), and by high-performance thin layer chromatography (lipid composition), in comparison with standard Egg-PC/PEG45-DSPE formulations. Further, a fluorescent dye, the carboxyfluorescein, was encapsulated into the prepared archaeosomes in order to evaluate the potential of such nanostructures as drug carriers. Release studies have shown that the stability of Egg-PC/PEG45-Tetraether-based archaeosomes is significantly higher at 37°C than the one of Egg-PC/PEG45-DSPE-based liposomes, as evidenced by the slower release of the dye encapsulated into PEGylated archaeosomes. This enhanced stability could be related to the membrane spanning properties of the archaeal bipolar lipid as already described with natural or synthetic tetraether lipids.
PMCID: PMC3095417  PMID: 21603209
10.  Archaeosomes display immunoadjuvant potential for a vaccine against Chagas disease 
Archaeosomes (ARC), vesicles made from lipids extracted from Archaea, display strong adjuvant properties. In this study, we evaluated the ability of the highly stable ARC formulated from total polar lipids of a new Halorubrum tebenquichense strain found in Argentinean Patagonia, to act as adjuvant for soluble parasite antigens in developing prophylactic vaccine against the intracellular protozoan T. cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. We demonstrated for the first time that C3H/HeN mice subcutaneously immunized with trypanosomal antigens entrapped in these ARC (ARC-TcAg) rapidly developed higher levels of circulating T. cruzi antibodies than those measured in the sera from animals receiving the antigen alone. Enhanced humoral responses elicited by ARC-TcAg presented a dominant IgG2a antibody isotype, usually associated with Th1-type immunity and resistance against T. cruzi. More importantly, ARC-TcAg-vaccinated mice displayed reduced parasitemia during early infection and were protected against an otherwise lethal challenge with the virulent Tulahuén strain of the parasite. Our findings suggest that, as an adjuvant, H. tebenquichense-derived ARC may hold great potential to develop a safe and helpful vaccine against this relevant human pathogen.
PMCID: PMC3859765  PMID: 23291939
archaeosomes; Trypanosoma cruzi; vaccine adjuvants; nanotechnology; immunology
11.  The Potent In Vitro Skin Permeation of Archaeosome Made from Lipids Extracted of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius 
Archaea  2013;2013:782012.
Archaeosomes are a new generation of liposomes that exhibit higher stabilities under different conditions, such as high temperatures, alkaline or acidic pH, and presence of bile salts in comparison with liposomes, and can be used in biotechnology including drug, gene, and vaccine delivery. The objective of this study was to prepare archaeosomes using lipid extracted from Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and evaluate their physicochemical properties. The lipids were extracted from S. acidocaldarius and assayed by High Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC). Archaeosomes were prepared using film method and methylene blue was used as drug model. They were characterized for their vesicle size and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) was used to investigate changes in their thermal behavior. The released amount of methylene blue was determined using a dialysis membrane and rat skin. HPTLC analysis of the extracted lipids showed that glycerol ether may be the major lipid with more than 78 percent probability. Results of particle size determination showed a mean size of 158.33 nm and the results of DSC indicated the possible interaction of methylene blue with lipids during the preparation of archaeosome. The addition of cholesterol significantly improved the encapsulation of methylene blue in the archaeosome so that the encapsulation efficiency was 61.66 ± 2.88%. The result of in vitro skin permeation showed that methylene blue could pass through skin model according to Peppas model and there was about 41.66% release after 6 h, whereas no release was observed through dialysis membrane. According to the results of the study, it is concluded that archaeosome may be successfully used as drug delivery system.
PMCID: PMC3888715  PMID: 24453698
12.  CDP-2,3-Di-O-Geranylgeranyl-sn-Glycerol:l-Serine O-Archaetidyltransferase (Archaetidylserine Synthase) in the Methanogenic Archaeon Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(4):1181-1189.
CDP-2,3-di-O-geranylgeranyl-sn-glycerol:l-serine O-archaetidyltransferase (archaetidylserine synthase) activity in cell extracts of Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus cells was characterized. The enzyme catalyzed the formation of unsaturated archaetidylserine from CDP-unsaturated archaeol and l-serine. The identity of the reaction products was confirmed by thin-layer chromatography, fast atom bombardment-mass spectrum analysis, and chemical degradation. The enzyme showed maximal activity in the presence of 10 mM Mn2+ and 1% Triton X-100. Among various synthetic substrate analogs, both enantiomers of CDP-unsaturated archaeols with ether-linked geranylgeranyl chains and CDP-saturated archaeol with ether-linked phytanyl chains were similarly active toward the archaetidylserine synthase. The activity on the ester analog of the substrate was two to three times higher than that on the corresponding ether-type substrate. The activity of d-serine with the enzyme was 30% of that observed for l-serine. A trace amount of an acid-labile, unsaturated archaetidylserine intermediate was detected in the cells by a pulse-labeling experiment. A gene (MT1027) in M. thermautotrophicus genome annotated as the gene encoding phosphatidylserine synthase was found to be homologous to Bacillus subtilis pssA but not to Escherichia coli pssA. The substrate specificity of phosphatidylserine synthase from B. subtilis was quite similar to that observed for the M. thermautotrophicus archaetidylserine synthase, while the E. coli enzyme had a strong preference for CDP-1,2-diacyl-sn-glycerol. It was concluded that M. thermautotrophicus archaetidylserine synthase belongs to subclass II phosphatidylserine synthase (B. subtilis type) on the basis of not only homology but also substrate specificity and some enzymatic properties. The possibility that a gene encoding the subclass II phosphatidylserine synthase might be transferred from a bacterium to an ancestor of methanogens is discussed.
PMCID: PMC142863  PMID: 12562787
13.  Preexisting Inflammation Due to Mycobacterium bovis BCG Infection Differentially Modulates T-Cell Priming against a Replicating or Nonreplicating Immunogen†  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(4):1957-1964.
Induction of T-cell memory by vaccination ensures long-term protection against pathogens. We determined whether on-going inflammatory responses during vaccination influenced T-cell priming. A preexposure of mice to Mycobacterium bovis BCG impaired their subsequent ability to prime T cells against Listeria monocytogenes. This was characterized by a decrease in L. monocytogenes-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-secreting CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The intensity of T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes depended on the extent of L. monocytogenes expansion, and a cessation of this expansion caused by M. bovis BCG-induced inflammation resulted in impairment in T-cell priming. A challenge of M. bovis BCG-infected mice with a higher L. monocytogenes dose increased L. monocytogenes survival and restored T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes. Impairment in T-cell priming towards L. monocytogenes due to M. bovis BCG-induced inflammation resulted in a compromised protective efficacy in the long term after mice were rechallenged with L. monocytogenes. Preexisting inflammation selectively impaired T-cell priming for replicating immunogens as CD8+ T-cell response to ovalbumin administered as an inert antigen (ovalbumin-archaeosomes) was enhanced by M. bovis BCG preimmunization, whereas priming towards ovalbumin administered as a live immunogen (L. monocytogenes-ovalbumin) was impaired. Thus, depending on the nature of the immunogen, the presence of prior inflammatory responses may either impede or boost vaccine efficacy.
PMCID: PMC127859  PMID: 11895959
14.  Ether polar lipids of methanogenic bacteria: structures, comparative aspects, and biosyntheses. 
Microbiological Reviews  1993;57(1):164-182.
Complete structures of nearly 40 ether polar lipids from seven species of methanogens have been elucidated during the past 10 years. Three kinds of variations of core lipids, macrocyclic archaeol and two hydroxyarchaeols, were identified, in addition to the usual archaeol and caldarchaeol (for the nomenclature of archaeal [archaebacterial] ether lipids, see the text). Polar head groups of methanogen phospholipids include ethanolamine, serine, inositol, N-acetylglucosamine, dimethyl- and trimethylaminopentanetetrol, and glucosaminylinositol. Glucose is the sole hexose moiety of glycolipids in most methanogens, and galactose and mannose have been found in a few species. Methanogen lipids are characterized by their diversity in phosphate-containing polar head groups and core lipids, which in turn can be used for chemotaxonomy of methanogens. This was shown by preliminary simplified analyses of lipid component residues. Core lipid analysis by high-pressure liquid chromatography provides a method of determining the methanogenic biomass in natural samples. There has been significant progress in the biosynthetic studies of methanogen lipids in recent years. In vivo incorporation experiments have led to delineation of the outline of the synthetic route of the diphytanylglycerol ether core. The mechanisms of biosynthesis of tetraether lipids and various polar lipids, and cell-free systems of either lipid synthesis, however, remain to be elucidated. The significance and the origin of archaeal ether lipids is discussed in terms of the lipid composition of bacteria living in a wide variety of environments, the oxygen requirement for biosynthesis of hydrocarbon chains, and the physicochemical properties and functions of lipids as membrane constituents.
PMCID: PMC372904  PMID: 8464404
15.  In Vitro Biosynthesis of Ether-Type Glycolipids in the Methanoarchaeon Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(11):4053-4061.
The biosynthesis of archaeal ether-type glycolipids was investigated in vitro using Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus cell-free homogenates. The sole sugar moiety of glycolipids and phosphoglycolipids of the organism is the β-d-glucosyl-(1→6)-d-glucosyl (gentiobiosyl) unit. The enzyme activities of archaeol:UDP-glucose β-glucosyltransferase (monoglucosylarchaeol [MGA] synthase) and MGA:UDP-glucose β-1,6-glucosyltransferase (diglucosylarchaeol [DGA] synthase) were found in the methanoarchaeon. The synthesis of DGA is probably a two-step glucosylation: (i) archaeol + UDP-glucose → MGA + UDP, and (ii) MGA + UDP-glucose → DGA + UDP. Both enzymes required the addition of K+ ions and archaetidylinositol for their activities. DGA synthase was stimulated by 10 mM MgCl2, in contrast to MGA synthase, which did not require Mg2+. It was likely that the activities of MGA synthesis and DGA synthesis were carried out by different proteins because of the Mg2+ requirement and their cellular localization. MGA synthase and DGA synthase can be distinguished in cell extracts greatly enriched for each activity by demonstrating the differing Mg2+ requirements of each enzyme. MGA synthase preferred a lipid substrate with the sn-2,3 stereostructure of the glycerol backbone on which two saturated isoprenoid chains are bound at the sn-2 and sn-3 positions. A lipid substrate with unsaturated isoprenoid chains or sn-1,2-dialkylglycerol configuration exhibited low activity. Tetraether-type caldarchaetidylinositol was also actively glucosylated by the homogenates to form monoglucosyl caldarchaetidylinositol and a small amount of diglucosyl caldarchaetidylinositol. The addition of Mg2+ increased the formation of diglucosyl caldarchaetidylinositol. This suggested that the same enzyme set synthesized the sole sugar moiety of diether-type glycolipids and tetraether-type phosphoglycolipids.
PMCID: PMC1913393  PMID: 17416653
16.  Intranasal Vaccination Promotes Detrimental Th17-Mediated Immunity against Influenza Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(1):e1003875.
Influenza disease is a global health issue that causes significant morbidity and mortality through seasonal epidemics. Currently, inactivated influenza virus vaccines given intramuscularly or live attenuated influenza virus vaccines administered intranasally are the only approved options for vaccination against influenza virus in humans. We evaluated the efficacy of a synthetic toll-like receptor 4 agonist CRX-601 as an adjuvant for enhancing vaccine-induced protection against influenza infection. Intranasal administration of CRX-601 adjuvant combined with detergent split-influenza antigen (A/Uruguay/716/2007 (H3N2)) generated strong local and systemic immunity against co-administered influenza antigens while exhibiting high efficacy against two heterotypic influenza challenges. Intranasal vaccination with CRX-601 adjuvanted vaccines promoted antigen-specific IgG and IgA antibody responses and the generation of polyfunctional antigen-specific Th17 cells (CD4+IL-17A+TNFα+). Following challenge with influenza virus, vaccinated mice transiently exhibited increased weight loss and morbidity during early stages of disease but eventually controlled infection. This disease exacerbation following influenza infection in vaccinated mice was dependent on both the route of vaccination and the addition of the adjuvant. Neutralization of IL-17A confirmed a detrimental role for this cytokine during influenza infection. The expansion of vaccine-primed Th17 cells during influenza infection was also accompanied by an augmented lung neutrophilic response, which was partially responsible for mediating the increased morbidity. This discovery is of significance in the field of vaccinology, as it highlights the importance of both route of vaccination and adjuvant selection in vaccine development
Author Summary
Influenza virus remains a global health risk causing significant morbidity and mortality each year, with the elderly (>65 years) and the very young particularly prone to severe respiratory disease. Scientists are working to develop highly efficacious vaccines capable of eliciting broad cross-clade protection from influenza infection. Adjuvants as well as the route of immunization are known to modulate the type, quality and breadth of immune responses to vaccines. In this study, we demonstrated intranasal vaccination with influenza antigens, and a novel synthetic TLR4-based adjuvant system provided protection against a lethal heterologous viral challenge. Immunization stimulated mucosal influenza-specific IgA antibody responses together with systemic IgG antibodies. While intranasal immunization stimulated the production of protective antibodies, vaccination via this route also promoted the generation of influenza-specific Th17 CD4+ T cells. These vaccine-induced Th17 cells increased inflammation and morbidity without contributing to viral clearance following challenge. Antibody neutralization of IL-17A during influenza infection significantly reduced the enhanced lung neutrophilic response, which was partially responsible for mediating the increased morbidity. This discovery is of significance in the field of vaccinology, as it demonstrates the importance of both route of immunization and adjuvant selection in vaccine development.
PMCID: PMC3900655  PMID: 24465206
17.  Cold Adaptation in the Antarctic Archaeon Methanococcoides burtonii Involves Membrane Lipid Unsaturation 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(24):8508-8515.
Direct analysis of membrane lipids by liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry was used to demonstrate the role of unsaturation in ether lipids in the adaptation of Methanococcoides burtonii to low temperature. A proteomics approach using two-dimensional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to identify enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis, and a pathway for lipid biosynthesis was reconstructed from the M. burtonii draft genome sequence. The major phospholipids were archaeol phosphatidylglycerol, archaeol phosphatidylinositol, hydroxyarchaeol phosphatidylglycerol, and hydroxyarchaeol phosphatidylinositol. All phospholipid classes contained a series of unsaturated analogues, with the degree of unsaturation dependent on phospholipid class. The proportion of unsaturated lipids from cells grown at 4°C was significantly higher than for cells grown at 23°C. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A synthase, farnesyl diphosphate synthase, and geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase were identified in the expressed proteome, and most genes involved in the mevalonate pathway and processes leading to the formation of phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylglycerol were identified in the genome sequence. In addition, M. burtonii encodes CDP-inositol and CDP-glycerol transferases and a number of homologs of the plant geranylgeranyl reductase. It therefore appears that the unsaturation of lipids may be due to incomplete reduction of an archaeol precursor rather than to a desaturase mechanism. This study shows that cold adaptation in M. burtonii involves specific changes in membrane lipid unsaturation. It also demonstrates that global methods of analysis for lipids and proteomics linked to a draft genome sequence can be effectively combined to infer specific mechanisms of key biological processes.
PMCID: PMC532414  PMID: 15576801
18.  Mechanism of Immunopotentiation and Safety of Aluminum Adjuvants 
Aluminum-containing adjuvants are widely used in preventive vaccines against infectious diseases and in preparations for allergy immunotherapy. The mechanism by which they enhance the immune response remains poorly understood. Aluminum adjuvants selectively stimulate a Th2 immune response upon injection of mice and a mixed response in human beings. They support activation of CD8 T cells, but these cells do not undergo terminal differentiation to cytotoxic T cells. Adsorption of antigens to aluminum adjuvants enhances the immune response by facilitating phagocytosis and slowing the diffusion of antigens from the injection site which allows time for inflammatory cells to accumulate. The adsorptive strength is important as high affinity interactions interfere with the immune response. Adsorption can also affect the physical and chemical stability of antigens. Aluminum adjuvants activate dendritic cells via direct and indirect mechanisms. Phagocytosis of aluminum adjuvants followed by disruption of the phagolysosome activates NLRP3-inflammasomes resulting in the release of active IL-1β and IL-18. Aluminum adjuvants also activate dendritic cells by binding to membrane lipid rafts. Injection of aluminum-adjuvanted vaccines causes the release of uric acid, DNA, and ATP from damaged cells which in turn activate dendritic cells. The use of aluminum adjuvant is limited by weak stimulation of cell-mediated immunity. This can be enhanced by addition of other immunomodulatory molecules. Adsorption of these molecules is determined by the same mechanisms that control adsorption of antigens and can affect the efficacy of such combination adjuvants. The widespread use of aluminum adjuvants can be attributed in part to the excellent safety record based on a 70-year history of use. They cause local inflammation at the injection site, but also reduce the severity of systemic and local reactions by binding biologically active molecules in vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3541479  PMID: 23335921
adjuvants; aluminum compounds; aluminum hydroxide; inflammasomes; inflammation; dendritic cells
19.  A study of archaeal enzymes involved in polar lipid synthesis linking amino acid sequence information, genomic contexts and lipid composition 
Archaea  2005;1(6):399-410.
Cellular membrane lipids, of which phospholipids are the major constituents, form one of the characteristic features that distinguish Archaea from other organisms. In this study, we focused on the steps in archaeal phospholipid synthetic pathways that generate polar lipids such as archaetidylserine, archaetidylglycerol, and archaetidylinositol. Only archaetidylserine synthase (ASS), from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus,has been experimentally identified. Other enzymes have not been fully examined. Through database searching, we detected many archaeal hypothetical proteins that show sequence similarity to members of the CDP alcohol phosphatidyltransferase family, such as phosphatidylserine synthase (PSS), phosphatidylglycerol synthase (PGS) and phosphatidylinositol synthase (PIS) derived from Bacteria and Eukarya. The archaeal hypothetical proteins were classified into two groups, based on the sequence similarity. Members of the first group, including ASS from M. thermautotrophicus, were closely related to PSS. The rough agreement between PSS homologue distribution within Archaea and the experimentally identified distribution of archaetidylserine suggested that the hypothetical proteins are ASSs. We found that an open reading frame (ORF) tends to be adjacent to that of ASS in the genome, and that the order of the two ORFs is conserved. The sequence similarity of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase to the product of the ORF next to the ASS gene, together with the genomic context conservation, suggests that the ORF encodes archaetidylserine decarboxylase, which may transform archaetidylserine to archaetidylethanolamine. The second group of archaeal hypothetical proteins was related to PGS and PIS. The members of this group were subjected to molecular phylogenetic analysis, together with PGSs and PISs and it was found that they formed two distinct clusters in the molecular phylogenetic tree. The distribution of members of each cluster within Archaea roughly corresponded to the experimentally identified distribution of archaetidylglycerol or archaetidylinositol. The molecular phylogenetic tree patterns and the correspondence to the membrane compositions suggest that the two clusters in this group correspond to archaetidylglycerol synthases and archaetidylinositol synthases. No archaeal hypothetical protein with sequence similarity to known phosphatidylcholine synthases was detected in this study.
PMCID: PMC2685579  PMID: 16243780
archaetidylcholine; archaetidylglycerol; archaetidylinositol; archaetidylserine; genomic context; phylogenetic tree
20.  A TLR4 agonist synergizes with dendritic cell-directed lentiviral vectors for inducing antigen-specific immune responses 
Vaccine  2012;30(15):2570-2581.
TLR4 agonists can be used as adjuvants to trigger innate immune responses of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells (DCs) to enhance vaccine-specific immunity. Adjuvant effects of TLR4 agonists are mediated by downstream signaling controlled by both MyD88 and TRIF adapter proteins. In this study, we investigated the adjuvanting capacity of glucopyranosyl lipid A (GLA), a chemically synthesized TLR4 agonist, to boost antigen-specific immunity elicited by DC-directed lentiviral vectors (DC-LV). We found that stimulation by this agonist in vitro can activate DCs in a TLR4-dependent manner. The agonist can significantly boost DC-LV-induced humoral and cellular immune responses, resulting in better antitumor reactions in response to tumor challenges. We observed that the adjuvant-mediated enhancement of cytotoxic CD8+ T cell responses is CD4+ T cell-dependent and determined that in vitro the agonist stimulation involves the participation of both MyD88 and TRIF pathways to activate DCs. In vivo immunization study however revealed that adjuvant effects depend more on the MyD88 signaling as TRIF-/- mice but not MyD88-/- mice were able to maintain the enhanced CD8+ T cell responses upon DC-LV immunization. Thus, our study supports the use of this TLR4 agonist as a potent adjuvant candidate for boosting DC-LV immunization.
PMCID: PMC3360926  PMID: 22314134
adjuvant; TLR4 agonist; dendritic cells; MyD88; TRIF; lentiviral vector
21.  Cationic Liposomes Formulated with Synthetic Mycobacterial Cordfactor (CAF01): A Versatile Adjuvant for Vaccines with Different Immunological Requirements 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3116.
It is now emerging that for vaccines against a range of diseases including influenza, malaria and HIV, the induction of a humoral response is insufficient and a substantial complementary cell-mediated immune response is necessary for adequate protection. Furthermore, for some diseases such as tuberculosis, a cellular response seems to be the sole effector mechanism required for protection. The development of new adjuvants capable of inducing highly complex immune responses with strong antigen-specific T-cell responses in addition to antibodies is therefore urgently needed.
Methods and Findings
Herein, we describe a cationic adjuvant formulation (CAF01) consisting of DDA as a delivery vehicle and synthetic mycobacterial cordfactor as immunomodulator. CAF01 primes strong and complex immune responses and using ovalbumin as a model vaccine antigen in mice, antigen specific cell-mediated- and humoral responses were obtained at a level clearly above a range of currently used adjuvants (Aluminium, monophosphoryl lipid A, CFA/IFA, Montanide). This response occurs through Toll-like receptor 2, 3, 4 and 7-independent pathways whereas the response is partly reduced in MyD88-deficient mice. In three animal models of diseases with markedly different immunological requirement; Mycobacterium tuberculosis (cell-mediated), Chlamydia trachomatis (cell-mediated/humoral) and malaria (humoral) immunization with CAF01-based vaccines elicited significant protective immunity against challenge.
CAF01 is potentially a suitable adjuvant for a wide range of diseases including targets requiring both CMI and humoral immune responses for protection.
PMCID: PMC2525815  PMID: 18776936
22.  Morphology, Biophysical Properties and Protein-Mediated Fusion of Archaeosomes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e39401.
As variance from standard phospholipids of eubacteria and eukaryotes, archaebacterial diether phospholipids contain branched alcohol chains (phytanol) linked to glycerol exclusively with ether bonds. Giant vesicles (GVs) constituted of different species of archaebacterial diether phospholipids and glycolipids (archaeosomes) were prepared by electroformation and observed under a phase contrast and/or fluorescence microscope. Archaebacterial lipids and different mixtures of archaebacterial and standard lipids formed GVs which were analysed for size, yield and ability to adhere to each other due to the mediating effects of certain plasma proteins. GVs constituted of different proportions of archaeal or standard phosphatidylcholine were compared. In nonarchaebacterial GVs (in form of multilamellar lipid vesicles, MLVs) the main transition was detected at Tm = 34. 2°C with an enthalpy of ΔH = 0.68 kcal/mol, whereas in archaebacterial GVs (MLVs) we did not observe the main phase transition in the range between 10 and 70°C. GVs constituted of archaebacterial lipids were subject to attractive interaction mediated by beta 2 glycoprotein I and by heparin. The adhesion constant of beta 2 glycoprotein I – mediated adhesion determined from adhesion angle between adhered GVs was in the range of 10−8 J/m2. In the course of protein mediated adhesion, lateral segregation of the membrane components and presence of thin tubular membranous structures were observed. The ability of archaebacterial diether lipids to combine with standard lipids in bilayers and their compatibility with adhesion-mediating molecules offer further evidence that archaebacterial lipids are appropriate for the design of drug carriers.
PMCID: PMC3391208  PMID: 22792173
23.  An Alphavirus-Based Adjuvant Enhances Serum and Mucosal Antibodies, T Cells, and Protective Immunity to Influenza Virus in Neonatal Mice 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9182-9196.
Neonatal immune responses to infection and vaccination are biased toward TH2 at the cost of proinflammatory TH1 responses needed to combat intracellular pathogens. However, upon appropriate stimulation, the neonatal immune system can induce adult-like TH1 responses. Here we report that a new class of vaccine adjuvant is especially well suited to enhance early life immunity. The GVI3000 adjuvant is a safe, nonpropagating, truncated derivative of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus that targets dendritic cells (DCs) in the draining lymph node (DLN) and produces intracellular viral RNA without propagating to other cells. RNA synthesis strongly activates the innate immune response so that in adult animals, codelivery of soluble protein antigens induces robust humoral, cellular, and mucosal responses. The adjuvant properties of GVI3000 were tested in a neonatal BALB/c mouse model using inactivated influenza virus (iFlu). After a single immunization, mice immunized with iFlu with the GVI3000 adjuvant (GVI3000-adjuvanted iFlu) had significantly higher and sustained influenza virus-specific IgG antibodies, mainly IgG2a (TH1), compared to the mice immunized with antigen only. GVI3000 significantly increased antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, primed mucosal immune responses, and enhanced protection from lethal challenge. As seen in adult mice, the GVI3000 adjuvant increased the DC population in the DLNs, caused activation and maturation of DCs, and induced proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the DLNs soon after immunization, including gamma interferon (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and interleukin 6 (IL-6). In summary, the GVI3000 adjuvant induced an adult-like adjuvant effect with an influenza vaccine and has the potential to improve the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of new and existing neonatal vaccines.
IMPORTANCE The suboptimal immune responses in early life constitute a significant challenge for vaccine design. Here we report that a new class of adjuvant is safe and effective for early life immunization and demonstrate its ability to significantly improve the protective efficacy of an inactivated influenza virus vaccine in a neonatal mouse model. The GVI3000 adjuvant delivers a truncated, self-replicating viral RNA into dendritic cells in the draining lymph node. Intracellular RNA replication activates a strong innate immune response that significantly enhances adaptive antibody and cellular immune responses to codelivered antigens. A significant increase in protection results from a single immunization. Importantly, this adjuvant also primed a mucosal IgA response, which is likely to be critical for protection during many early life infections.
PMCID: PMC4136293  PMID: 24899195
24.  Synthetic Double-Stranded RNAs Are Adjuvants for the Induction of T Helper 1 and Humoral Immune Responses to Human Papillomavirus in Rhesus Macaques 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(4):e1000373.
Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands are being considered as adjuvants for the induction of antigen-specific immune responses, as in the design of vaccines. Polyriboinosinic-polyribocytoidylic acid (poly I:C), a synthetic double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), is recognized by TLR3 and other intracellular receptors. Poly ICLC is a poly I:C analogue, which has been stabilized against the serum nucleases that are present in the plasma of primates. Poly I:C12U, another analogue, is less toxic but also less stable in vivo than poly I:C, and TLR3 is essential for its recognition. To study the effects of these compounds on the induction of protein-specific immune responses in an animal model relevant to humans, rhesus macaques were immunized subcutaneously (s.c.) with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or human papillomavirus (HPV)16 capsomeres with or without dsRNA or a control adjuvant, the TLR9 ligand CpG-C. All dsRNA compounds served as adjuvants for KLH-specific cellular immune responses, with the highest proliferative responses being observed with 2 mg/animal poly ICLC (p = 0.002) or 6 mg/animal poly I:C12U (p = 0.001) when compared with immunization with KLH alone. Notably, poly ICLC—but not CpG-C given at the same dose—also helped to induce HPV16-specific Th1 immune responses while both adjuvants supported the induction of strong anti-HPV16 L1 antibody responses as determined by ELISA and neutralization assay. In contrast, control animals injected with HPV16 capsomeres alone did not develop substantial HPV16-specific immune responses. Injection of dsRNA led to increased numbers of cells producing the T cell–activating chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 as detected by in situ hybridization in draining lymph nodes 18 hours after injections, and to increased serum levels of CXCL10 (p = 0.01). This was paralleled by the reduced production of the homeostatic T cell–attracting chemokine CCL21. Thus, synthetic dsRNAs induce an innate chemokine response and act as adjuvants for virus-specific Th1 and humoral immune responses in nonhuman primates.
Author Summary
Novel adjuvants that facilitate the induction of strong cellular immunity could be of help in the design of vaccine strategies to combat infections such as HIV or tuberculosis. Our immune cells possess archaic receptors recognizing structures of infectious pathogens, and the interaction of these receptors with their ligands results in an activation of the immune system. Here we exploited synthetic forms of one of these ligands, i.e., dsRNA, to define an adjuvant for the induction of cellular immune responses in primates. We injected model and viral proteins together with three different forms of dsRNA subcutaneously (s.c.) in rhesus macaques, and all compounds served as adjuvants for the induction of cellular immunity without the incidence of major side effects. These adjuvant effects depended on the adjuvant dose and coincided with profound alterations in the chemokine production in the draining lymph nodes. dsRNA also helped to induce cellular and humoral immune responses against capsomeres of low immunogenicity derived from the human papillomavirus 16, the causative agent in about 50% of all cases of cervical cancer worldwide. Therefore, formulations involving synthetic dsRNA are promising candidates for development of novel vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2660151  PMID: 19360120
25.  A TLR2 agonist is a more effective adjuvant for a Chlamydia major outer membrane protein vaccine than ligands to other TLR and NOD receptors 
Vaccine  2011;29(38):6641-6649.
Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen in the World and there is an urgent need for a vaccine to prevent these infections. To determine what type of adjuvant can better enhance the immunogenicity of a Chlamydia vaccine, we formulated the recombinant major outer membrane protein (Ct-rMOMP) with several ligands for Toll-like receptor (TLR) and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD) including Pam2CSK4 (TLR2/TLR6), Poly (I:C) (TLR3), monophosphoryl lipid A (TLR4), flagellin (TLR5), imiquimod R837 (TLR7), imidazoquinoline R848 (TRL7/8), CpG-1826 (TLR9), M-Tri-DAP (NOD1/NOD2) and muramyldipeptide (NOD2). Groups of female BALB/c mice were immunized intramuscularly (i.m.) three times with the Ct-rMOMP and each one of those adjuvants. Four weeks after the last immunization the mice were challenged intranasally (i.n.) with 104 C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis (MoPn) inclusion forming units (IFU). As negative antigen controls mice were immunized with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae recombinant porin B (Ng-rPorB) and the same adjuvants. As a positive vaccine control mice were inoculated i.n. with 104 IFU of MoPn. The humoral and cell mediated immune responses were determined the day before the challenge. Following the challenge the mice were weighed daily and, at 10 days post-challenge (p.c.), they were euthanized, their lungs weighted and the number of IFU in the lungs counted. As determined by the IgG2a/IgG1 ratio in the sera, mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP + Pam2CSK4 showed a strong Th2 biased humoral immune response. Furthermore, these mice develop a robust cellular immune response with high Chlamydia-specific T cell proliferation and levels of IFN-γ production. In addition, based on changes in body weight, weight of the lungs and number of IFU recovered from the lungs, the mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP + Pam2CSK4, were better protected against the i.n. challenge than any group of mice immunized with Ct-rMOMP and the other adjuvants. In conclusion, Pam2CSK4 should be evaluated as a candidate adjuvant for a C. trachomatis vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3156873  PMID: 21742006
Chlamydia trachomatis; vaccine; mice; immunization; Toll-like receptors; Pam2CSK4

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