Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.105, No.1, 77-91, 2021
Genetically engineered fusion of allergen and viral-like particle induces a more effective allergen-specific immune response than a combination of them
Chimeric virus-like particles (VLPs) were developed as a candidate for allergen-specific immunotherapy. In this study, hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) that genetically fused to Chenopodium album polcalcin (Che a 3)-derived peptide was expressed in E. coli BL21, purified, and VLP formation was evaluated using native agarose gel electrophoresis (NAGE) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Chimeric HBc VLPs were characterized in terms of their reactivity to IgE, the induction of blocking IgG and allergen-specific IgE, basophil-activating capacity, and Th1-type immune responses. Results from IgE reactivity and basophil activation test showed that chimeric HBc VLPs lack IgE-binding capacity and basophil degranulation activity. Although chimeric HBc VLPs induced the highest level of efficient polcalcin-specific IgG antibody in comparison to those induced by recombinant Che a 3 (rChe a 3) mixed either with HBc VLPs or alum, they triggered the lowest level of polcalcin-specific IgE in mice following immunization. Furthermore, in comparison to the other antigens, chimeric HBc VLPs produced a polcalcin-specific Th1 cell response. Taken together, genetically fusion of allergen derivatives to HBc VLPs, in comparison to a mix of them, may be a more effective way to induce appropriate immune responses in allergen-specific immunotherapy.