Table_1_Shotgun Immunoproteomic Approach for the Discovery of Linear B-Cell Epitopes in Biothreat Agents Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseud.xlsx (17.69 kB)
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Table_1_Shotgun Immunoproteomic Approach for the Discovery of Linear B-Cell Epitopes in Biothreat Agents Francisella tularensis and Burkholderia pseudomallei.xlsx

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posted on 29.09.2021, 13:40 by Patrik D’haeseleer, Nicole M. Collette, Victoria Lao, Brent W. Segelke, Steven S. Branda, Magdalena Franco

Peptide-based subunit vaccines are coming to the forefront of current vaccine approaches, with safety and cost-effective production among their top advantages. Peptide vaccine formulations consist of multiple synthetic linear epitopes that together trigger desired immune responses that can result in robust immune memory. The advantages of linear compared to conformational epitopes are their simple structure, ease of synthesis, and ability to stimulate immune responses by means that do not require complex 3D conformation. Prediction of linear epitopes through use of computational tools is fast and cost-effective, but typically of low accuracy, necessitating extensive experimentation to verify results. On the other hand, identification of linear epitopes through experimental screening has been an inefficient process that requires thorough characterization of previously identified full-length protein antigens, or laborious techniques involving genetic manipulation of organisms. In this study, we apply a newly developed generalizable screening method that enables efficient identification of B-cell epitopes in the proteomes of pathogenic bacteria. As a test case, we used this method to identify epitopes in the proteome of Francisella tularensis (Ft), a Select Agent with a well-characterized immunoproteome. Our screen identified many peptides that map to known antigens, including verified and predicted outer membrane proteins and extracellular proteins, validating the utility of this approach. We then used the method to identify seroreactive peptides in the less characterized immunoproteome of Select Agent Burkholderia pseudomallei (Bp). This screen revealed known Bp antigens as well as proteins that have not been previously identified as antigens. Although B-cell epitope prediction tools Bepipred 2.0 and iBCE-EL classified many of our seroreactive peptides as epitopes, they did not score them significantly higher than the non-reactive tryptic peptides in our study, nor did they assign higher scores to seroreactive peptides from known Ft or Bp antigens, highlighting the need for experimental data instead of relying on computational epitope predictions alone. The present workflow is easily adaptable to detecting peptide targets relevant to the immune systems of other mammalian species, including humans (depending upon the availability of convalescent sera from patients), and could aid in accelerating the discovery of B-cell epitopes and development of vaccines to counter emerging biological threats.

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