Optimizing the design of protein nanoparticles as carriers for vaccine applications

Tais A.P.F. Doll, Tobias Neef, Nha Duong, David E. Lanar, Philippe Ringler, Shirley A. Müller, Peter Burkhard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Successful vaccine development remains a huge challenge for infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV and influenza. As a novel way to present antigenic epitopes to the immune system, we have developed icosahedral self-assembling protein nanoparticles (SAPNs) to serve as a prototypical vaccine platform for infectious diseases. Here we examine some biophysical factors that affect the self-assembly of these nanoparticles, which have as basic building blocks coiled-coil oligomerization domains joined by a short linker region. Relying on in silico computer modeling predictions, we selected five different linker regions from the RCSB protein database that connect oligomerization domains, and then further studied the self-assembly and stability of in vitro produced nanoparticles through biophysical characterization of formed particles. One design in particular, T2i88, revealed excellent self-assembly and homogeneity thus paving the way toward a more optimized nanoparticle for vaccine applications. From the Clinical Editor: Despite the widespread use of vaccines worldwide, successful development of vaccines against some diseases remains a challenge still. In this article, the authors investigated the physic-chemical and biological properties of icosahedral self-assembling protein nanoparticles (SAPNs), which mimic viral particles, in order to utilize this technology as potential platform for future design of vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1713
Number of pages9
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Malaria
  • Protein design
  • Protein nanoparticle
  • Self-assembly
  • Vaccine carrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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