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Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2015;11(6):1474-88. doi: 10.1080/21645515.2015.1036207.

Expression, purification, and characterization of the Necator americanus aspartic protease-1 (Na-APR-1 (M74)) antigen, a component of the bivalent human hookworm vaccine.

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a Departments of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology; National School of Tropical Medicine; Baylor College of Medicine ; Houston , TX , USA.


Over 400 million people living in the world's poorest developing nations are infected with hookworms, mostly of the genus Necator americanus. A bivalent human hookworm vaccine composed of the Necator americanus Glutathione S-Transferase-1 (Na-GST-1) and the Necator americanus Aspartic Protease-1 (Na-APR-1 (M74)) is currently under development by the Sabin Vaccine Institute Product Development Partnership (Sabin PDP). Both monovalent vaccines are currently in Phase 1 trials. Both Na-GST-1 and Na-APR-1 antigens are expressed as recombinant proteins. While Na-GST-1 was found to express with high yields in Pichia pastoris, the level of expression of Na-APR-1 in this host was too low to be suitable for a manufacturing process. When the tobacco plant Nicotiana benthamiana was evaluated as an expression system, acceptable levels of solubility, yield, and stability were attained. Observed expression levels of Na-APR-1 (M74) using this system are ∼300 mg/kg. Here we describe the achievements and obstacles encountered during process development as well as characterization and stability of the purified Na-APR-1 (M74) protein and formulated vaccine. The expression, purification and analysis of purified Na-APR-1 (M74) protein obtained from representative 5 kg reproducibility runs performed to qualify the Na-APR-1 (M74) production process is also presented. This process has been successfully transferred to a pilot plant and a 50 kg scale manufacturing campaign under current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) has been performed. The 50 kg run has provided a sufficient amount of protein to support the ongoing hookworm vaccine development program of the Sabin PDP.


product development partnership, vaccine, human hookworm, process development, tobacco plant expression, aspartic protease

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