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A protein sequence associated with Huntington’s disease may become life-saving vaccine component
Date:6/10/2008

al adjuvants formed with antigenic peptides exposed on their surface. Dr. Shneider hypothesized that these polyQ containing aggregates were easily taken up by antigen-presenting cells, as is the case with adjuvant droplets, triggering the immune response.

Another hypothesis was proposed by Michael Sherman, professor at Boston University Medical School and scientific consultant at Cure Lab. "We knew- said Michael Sherman- that polyQ aggregates are destroyed in cells by a special degradation system, called autophagy. Interestingly, autophagy plays a key role in the processing of certain antigens, which is critical for the immune response. So, attachment of a polyQ tail should specifically target the antigen to autophagy, which in turn should facilitate the response. Thus, polyQ would serve as a molecular adjuvant".

There are two branches to the immune system. One is responsible for developing antibodies against bacteria, viruses and toxins freely circulating in the organism. Another is aimed at eliminating virus-infected or cancer cells. Cure Lab's paper demonstrates that the new polyQ-based adjuvant efficiently enhances both branches of the immune response to a poor model antigen. Importantly, the adjuvant caused no apparent toxicity in mice.

Many questions remain to be answered. The adjuvant properties of the polyQ tail will have to be tested for each individual antigen of medical and veterinary importance. However, this work may launch a new era in vaccine development, the era of molecular adjuvants.


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Contact: Alex Shneider
ashneider@curelab.com
609-841-1201
Cure Lab, Inc.
Source:Eurekalert

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