Joint epitope selection and spacer design for string-of-beads vaccines

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Emilio Dorigatti, B. Schubert


Motivation: Conceptually, epitope-based vaccine design poses two distinct problems: (1) selecting the best epitopes eliciting the strongest possible immune response, and (2) arranging and linking the selected epitopes through short spacer sequences to string-of-beads vaccines so as to increase the recovery likelihood of each epitope during antigen processing. Current state-of-the-art approaches solve this design problem sequentially. Consequently, such approaches are unable to capture the inter-dependencies between the two design steps, usually emphasizing theoretical immunogenicity over correct vaccine processing and resulting in vaccines with less effective immunogencity. Results: In this work, we present a computational approach based on linear programming that solves both design steps simultaneously, allowing to weigh the selection of a set of epitopes that have great immunogenic potential against their assembly into a string-of-beads construct that provides a high chance of recovery. We conducted Monte-Carlo cleavage simulations to show that, indeed, a fixed set of epitopes often cannot be assembled adequately, whereas selecting epitopes to accommodate proper cleavage requirements substantially improves their recovery prob...Continue Reading

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