Scientific reports

Virus-like nanostructures for tuning immune response.

PMID 26577983


Synthetic vaccines utilize viral signatures to trigger immune responses. Although the immune responses raised against the biochemical signatures of viruses are well characterized, the mechanism of how they affect immune response in the context of physical signatures is not well studied. In this work, we investigated the ability of zero- and one-dimensional self-assembled peptide nanostructures carrying unmethylated CpG motifs (signature of viral DNA) for tuning immune response. These nanostructures represent the two most common viral shapes, spheres and rods. The nanofibrous structures were found to direct immune response towards Th1 phenotype, which is responsible for acting against intracellular pathogens such as viruses, to a greater extent than nanospheres and CpG ODN alone. In addition, nanofibers exhibited enhanced uptake into dendritic cells compared to nanospheres or the ODN itself. The chemical stability of the ODN against nuclease-mediated degradation was also observed to be enhanced when complexed with the peptide nanostructures. In vivo studies showed that nanofibers promoted antigen-specific IgG production over 10-fold better than CpG ODN alone. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report showing the modulation of the nature of an immune response through the shape of the carrier system.