Immunization with tumor neoantigens displayed on T7 phage nanoparticles elicits plasma antibody and vaccine-draining lymph node B cell responses

Girja S. Shukla, Yu Jing Sun, Stephanie C. Pero, Giselle S. Sholler, David N. Krag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The aim of this preclinical study was to evaluate T7 bacteriophage as a nanoparticle platform for expression of neoantigens that could allow rapid generation of vaccines for potential studies in human cancer patients. We have generated recombinant T7 phage vaccines carrying neoepitopes derived from mutated proteins of B16-F10 melanoma tumor cells. With the single mutated amino acid (AA) centered, peptides were expressed on the outer coat of T7 phage. All peptides with 11 and 34 AAs were successfully expressed. Trimers of the 11-AA peptides were successfully expressed in only 3 of 8 peptides. The 11-AA peptide was better in stimulating antibodies selective for the mutated region than the longer 34-AA peptide. We observed a dose response for vaccines which provides an initial framework of the minimum phage required for vaccination. A single injection with phage-peptide vaccines in both monomer and trimer formats produced significant immune responses in mice on day 21, as assessed by lymph node cell counts, next generation sequencing (NGS), and plasma titers against T7 phage and vaccine peptides. A trimer provided no additional serum response to the monomer format. Immunization of mice with a mixture of 8 different peptide vaccines resulted in antibodies to most of the peptides. It was encouraging that induced antibodies had higher binding to the mutated peptides compared to the corresponding normal peptides. The NGS of lymph node cells demonstrated a low B cell receptor diversity and clonal hyperpolarization in vaccine-draining lymph nodes in comparison to those in unvaccinated mice nodes. The NGS data also revealed phenomenal increase in IgG and other class-switched antibodies following vaccination. These results agree with the higher plasma titers of IgG antibodies against T7 phage and vaccine peptides. Antibodies bound whole B16-F10 cells, lysates and multiple bands on Western blot. This indicates that these vaccine peptides successfully induced antibodies that bind full proteins from which the vaccine peptides were derived. We demonstrate a preclinical platform for rapid production of vaccines that can deliver mutated peptides and stimulate an appropriate B cell response. We anticipate further research in utilizing the cells from a tumor or vaccine draining lymph node as a resource for therapeutic anticancer reagents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
StatePublished - Sep 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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