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    Characterisation of the UK anthrax vaccine and human immunogenicity

    Modi, T. and Gervais, D. and Smith, S. and Miller, J. and Subramaniam, S. and Thalassinos, Kostas and Shepherd, Adrian J. (2020) Characterisation of the UK anthrax vaccine and human immunogenicity. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics , ISSN 2164-5515. (In Press)

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    The manufacture of the UK Anthrax vaccine (AVP) focuses on the production of Protective Antigen (PA) from the Bacillus anthracis Sterne strain. Although used for decades, several of AVP’s fundamental properties are poorly understood, including its exact composition, the extent to which proteins other than PA may contribute to protection, and whether the degree of protection varies between individuals. This study involved three innovative investigations. Firstly, the composition of AVP was analysed using liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), requiring the development of a novel desorption method for releasing B. anthracis proteins from the vaccine’s aluminium-containing adjuvant. Secondly, computational MHC-binding predictions using NetMHCIIpan were made for the eight most abundant proteins of AVP, for the commonest HLA alleles in multiple ethnic groups, and for multiple B. anthracis strains. Thirdly, antibody levels and toxin neutralising antibody (TNA) levels were measured in sera from AVP human vaccinees for both PA and Lethal Factor (LF). It was demonstrated that AVP is composed of at least 138 B. anthracis proteins, including PA (65%), LF (8%) and Edema Factor (EF) (3%), using LC-MS/MS. NetMHCIIpan predicted that peptides from all eight abundant proteins are likely to be presented to T cells, a pre-requisite for protection; however, the number of such peptides varied considerably between different HLA alleles. These analyses highlight two important properties of the AVP vaccine that have not been established previously. Firstly, the effectiveness of AVP within humans may not depend on PA alone; there is compelling evidence to suggest that LF has a protective role, with computational predictions suggesting that additional proteins may be important for individuals with specific HLA allele combinations. Secondly, in spite of differences in the sequences of key antigenic proteins from different B. anthracis strains, these are unlikely to affect the cross-strain protection afforded by AVP.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    School: School of Science > Biological Sciences
    Depositing User: Adrian Shepherd
    Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2020 06:45
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 01:28


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