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Eur J Immunol. 1997 May;27(5):1242-53.

Lipopeptide immunization without adjuvant induces potent and long-lasting B, T helper, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses against a malaria liver stage antigen in mice and chimpanzees.

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Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Bio-M├ędicale, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


We have employed a 26-amino-acid synthetic peptide based on Plasmodium falciparum liver stage antigen-3 to evaluate improvements in immunogenicity mediated by the inclusion of a simple lipid-conjugated amino acid during peptide synthesis. Comparative immunization by the peptide in Freund's adjuvant or by the lipopeptide in saline shows that the addition of a palmitoyl chain can dramatically increase T helper (Th) cell responses in a wide range of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II haplotypes, to the extent that responses were induced in mice otherwise unable to respond to the non-modified peptide injected with Freund's adjuvant, and that the increased immunogenicity of the lipopeptide led to high and longer lasting antibody production (studied up to 8 months). B and T cell responses induced by the lipopeptide were reactive with native parasite protein epitopes, and a lipopeptide longer than ten amino acids was endogenously processed to associate with MHC class I and elicit cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses. Finally, the lipopeptide was safe and highly immunogenic in chimpanzees, whose immune system is very similar to that of humans. Our results suggest that relatively large synthetic peptides, carefully chosen from pertinent areas of proteins and incorporating a simple palmitoyl-lysine, can induce not only CTL, but also strong Th and antibody responses in genetically diverse populations. Lipopeptides engineered in this way are simple to produce and purify under GMP conditions, they are well tolerated by apes, and with the enhanced immunogenicity without the need for adjuvant that we report here, they offer a quick and relatively low-cost route to provide material for human malaria vaccination trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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