Investigating the use of Gold Nanoparticles in Vaccine Delivery
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Vaccination is one of the most effective public health interventions in the world, saving millions of lives and preventing the onset of debilitating diseases. With widespread emergence of multi-drug resistant pathogens, the importance of preventative medicine has become even more apparent. However, one of the limiting factors in developing novel vaccines that are both safe and highly immunogenic is the availability of adjuvant delivery systems licensed for human use. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role gold nanoparticles could play as an effective vaccine delivery system. A variety of coupling chemistries were explored for their ability to conjugate protein and polysaccharide antigens onto the surface of gold nanoparticles for the development of vaccines against a number of biologically important human pathogens including Y. pestis, B. mallei and S. pneumoniae. Retention of antigenicity and coupling efficiency of conjugated molecules was measured using characterisation techniques such as localised surface plasmon resonance and immunoblotting. Gold nanoparticle coupled antigens were then used to immunise mice and to measure the protective efficacy and the immunological response induced. The findings indicate antigen-specific immune responses are elevated when an antigen is coupled onto gold nanoparticles. Moreover, immunological data from nanoparticle coupled glycoconjugate vaccines against B. mallei and S. pneumoniae indicate the likely presence of a strong T cell immune response which is essential for providing immunological memory. Finally, an intracellular trafficking assay was carried out to identify some of the mechanisms that might be involved in uptake of gold nanoparticles into professional phagocytes. Confocal imaging of receptors associated with endosomal compartments revealed that gold nanoparticles may enter cells through multiple pathways. The findings reported in this study suggest that gold nanoparticles may be an excellent candidate for further investigation as a novel vaccine delivery system.
Gregory AE, Williamson ED, Prior JL, Butcher WA, Thompson IJ, Shaw AM, Titball RW. Conjugation of Y. pestis F1-antigen to gold nanoparticles improves immunogenicity. Vaccine. 2012;30:6777-82
Gregory AE, Williamson ED, Titball RW. Vaccine delivery using nanoparticles. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 2013;3
PhD in Biological Sciences