Author(s): Locher CP, Paidhungat M, Whalen RG, Punnonen J
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Abstract The efficacy of vaccines can be improved by increasing their immunogenicity, broadening their crossprotective range, as well as by developing immunomodulators that can be coadministered with the vaccine antigen. One technology that can be applied to each of these aspects of vaccine development is MolecularBreeding directed molecular evolution. Essentially, this technology is used to evolve genes in vitro through an iterative process consisting of recombinant generation followed by selection of the desired recombinants. We have used DNA shuffling and screening strategies to develop and improve vaccine candidates against several infectious pathogens including Plasmodium falciparum (a common cause of severe and fatal human malaria), dengue virus, encephalitic alphaviruses such as Venezuelan, western and eastern equine encephalitis viruses (VEEV, WEEV, and EEEV, respectively), human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1), and hepatitis B virus (HBV). By recombining antigen-encoding genes from different serovar isolates, new chimeras are selected for crossreactivity; these vaccine candidates are expected to provide broader crossprotection than vaccines based on a single serovar. Furthermore, the vaccine candidates can be selected for improved immunogenicity, which would also improve their efficacy. In addition to vaccine candidates, we have applied the technology to evolve several immunomodulators that when coadministered with vaccines can improve vaccine efficacy by fine-tuning the T cell response. Thus, DNA shuffling and screening technology is a promising strategy to facilitate vaccine efficacy.
This article was published in DNA Cell Biol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation