Immunization of mice by a multimeric L2-based linear epitope (17-36) from HPV type 16/18 induced cross reactive neutralizing antibodies

Farhad Motavalli Khiavi, Arash Arashkia, Maryam Nasimi, Mehdi Mahdavi, Majid Golkar, Farzin Roohvand, Kayhan Azadmanesh


Current licensed and commercially available prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines (Cervarix and quadrivalent/nine valents Gardasil) are based on major capsid protein L1 virus-like particles (VLPs) production which are expensive and type specific. Minor capsid L2-RG1 linear epitope (17-36) is a known candidate for induction of cross-neutralizing antibodies to develop low-cost pan-HPV vaccines. Herein, we report construction and expression of a three tandem repeats of L2-RG1 derived from HPV16 and 18 fused with the same head to tail pattern (HPV16:17-36×3+ HPV18:17-36×3; hereafter termed dual-type fusion L2 peptide) in E. coli and provide the results of its immunogenicity in mice. SDS-PAGE and western blot analyses indicated proper expression of the peptide that could be further purified by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography via the located C-terminal 6xHis-tag. Mice immunized by formulation of the purified peptide and Freund adjuvant raised neutralizing antibodies which showed proper cross reactivity to HPV L2 (11-200) of types: 18, 16, 31 and 45 (which totally are responsible for 90% of cervical cancers) and efficiently neutralized HPV18/16 pseudoviruses in vitro. Our results imply the possibility of development of a simple, low-cost preventive HPV vaccine based on this dual-type fusion L2 peptide in bacterial expression system with broad spectrum.


Human papilloma virus; Cross neutralization; Pseudovirus and L2 peptide

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