Vaccine. 2019 Jun 27;37(29):3770-3778. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.05.068
Awasthi S, Hook LM, Swaminathan G, Cairns TM, Brooks B, Smith JS, Ditto NT, Gindy ME, Bett AJ, Espeseth AS, Cohen GH, Friedman HM
We are interested in developing a vaccine that prevents genital herpes. Adjuvants have a major impact on vaccine immunogenicity. We compared two adjuvants, an experimental Merck Sharp & Dohme lipid nanoparticle (LNP) adjuvant, LNP-2, with CpG oligonucleotide combined with alum for immunogenicity in mice when administered with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) glycoproteins C, D and E (gC2, gD2, gE2). The immunogens are intended to produce neutralizing antibodies to gC2 and gD2, antibodies to gD2 and gE2 that block cell-to-cell spread, and antibodies to gE2 and gC2 that block immune evasion from antibody and complement, respectively. Overall, CpG/alum was better at producing serum and vaginal IgG binding antibodies, neutralizing antibodies, antibodies that block virus spread from cell-to-cell, and antibodies that block immune evasion domains on gC2. We used a novel high throughput biosensor assay to further assess differences in immunogenicity by mapping antibody responses to seven crucial epitopes on gD2 involved in virus entry or cell-to-cell spread. We found striking differences between CpG/alum and LNP-2. Mice immunized with gD2 CpG/alum produced higher titers of antibodies than LNP-2 to six of seven crucial epitopes and produced antibodies to more crucial epitopes than LNP-2. Measuring epitope-specific antibodies helped to define mechanisms by which CpG/alum outperformed LNP-2 and is a valuable technique to compare adjuvants.