Synthesis of protein conjugates adsorbed on cationic liposomes surface

Chatzikleanthous, Despo and Cunliffe, Robert and Carboni, Filippo and Romano, Maria Rosaria and O'Hagan, Derek T. and Roberts, Craig W. and Perrie, Yvonne and Adamo, Roberto (2020) Synthesis of protein conjugates adsorbed on cationic liposomes surface. MethodsX, 7. 100942. ISSN 2215-0161

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    Abstract

    The well-known Toll like receptor 9 (TLR9) agonist CpG ODN has shown promising results as vaccine adjuvant in preclinical and clinical studies, however its in vivo stability and potential systemic toxicity remain a concern. In an effort to overcome these issues, different strategies have been explored including conjugation of CpG ODN with proteins or encapsulation/adsorption of CpG ODN into/onto liposomes. Although these methods have resulted in enhanced immunopotency compared to co-administration of free CpG ODN and antigen, we believe that this effect could be further improved. Here, we designed a novel delivery system of CpG ODN based on its conjugation to serve as anchor for liposomes. Thiol-maleimide chemistry was utilised to covalently ligate model protein with the CpG ODN TLR9 agonist. Due to its negative charge, the protein conjugate readily electrostatically bound cationic liposomes composed of 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC), cholesterol and dimethyldioctadecylammonium bromide (DDA) in a very high degree. The novel cationic liposomes-protein conjugate complex shared similar vesicle characteristics (size and charge) compared to free liposomes. The conjugation of CpG ODN to protein in conjunction with adsorption on cationic liposomes, could promote co-delivery leading to the induction of immune response at low antigen and CpG ODN doses. • The CpG ODN Toll-like receptor (TLR) 9 agonist was conjugated to protein antigens via thiol-maleimide chemistry. • Due to their negative charge, protein conjugates readily electrostatically bound cationic liposomes composed of 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DSPC), cholesterol and dimethyldioctadecylammonium bromide (DDA) resulting to the design of novel cationic liposomes-protein conjugate complexes. • The method is suited for the liposomal delivery of a variety of adjuvant-protein conjugates.