Branched-linear and agglomerate protein polymers as vaccine platforms

Leyi Wang, Ming Xia, Pengwei Huang, Hao Fang, Dianjun Cao, Xiang Jin Meng, Monica McNeal, Xi Jiang, Ming Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many viral structural proteins and their truncated domains share a common feature of homotypic interaction forming dimers, trimers, and/or oligomers with various valences. We reported previously a simple strategy for construction of linear and network polymers through the dimerization feature of viral proteins for vaccine development. In this study, technologies were developed to produce more sophisticated polyvalent complexes through both the dimerization and oligomerization natures of viral antigens. As proof of concept, branched-linear and agglomerate polymers were made via fusions of the dimeric glutathione-s-transferase (GST) with either a tetrameric hepatitis E virus (HEV) protruding protein or a 24-meric norovirus (NoV) protruding protein. Furthermore, a monomeric antigen, either the M2e epitope of influenza A virus or the VP8* antigen of rotavirus, was inserted and displayed by the polymer platform. All resulting polymers were easily produced in Escherichia coli at high yields. Immunization of mice showed that the polymer vaccines induced significantly higher specific humoral and T cell responses than those induced by the dimeric antigens. Additional evidence in supporting use of polymer vaccines included the significantly higher neutralization activity and protective immunity of the polymer vaccines against the corresponding viruses than those of the dimer vaccines. Thus, our technology for production of polymers containing different viral antigens offers a strategy for vaccine development against infectious pathogens and their associated diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8427-8438
Number of pages12
Issue number29
StatePublished - Sep 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Flu vaccine
  • Hepatitis E virus vaccine
  • Norovirus
  • Norovirus vaccine
  • Vaccine development
  • Vaccine platform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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