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Bioorthogonal Strategy for Bioprocessing of Specific-Site-Functionalized Enveloped Influenza-Virus-Like Particles

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Carvalho, SB 
Freire, JM 
Moleirinho, MG 
Monteiro, F 
Gaspar, D 


Virus-like particles (VLPs) constitute a promising platform in vaccine development and targeted drug delivery. To date, most applications use simple nonenveloped VLPs as human papillomavirus or hepatitis B vaccines, even though the envelope is known to be critical to retain the native protein folding and biological function. Here, we present tagged enveloped VLPs (TagE-VLPs) as a valuable strategy for the downstream processing and monitoring of the in vivo production of specific-site-functionalized enveloped influenza VLPs. This two-step procedure allows bioorthogonal functionalization of azide-tagged nascent influenza type A hemagglutinin proteins in the envelope of VLPs through a strain-promoted [3 + 2] alkyne-azide cycloaddition reaction. Importantly, labeling does not influence VLP production and allows for construction of functionalized VLPs without deleterious effects on their biological function. Refined discrimination and separation between VLP and baculovirus, the major impurity of the process, is achieved when this technique is combined with flow cytometry analysis, as demonstrated by atomic force microscopy. TagE-VLPs is a versatile tool broadly applicable to the production, monitoring, and purification of functionalized enveloped VLPs for vaccine design trial runs, targeted drug delivery, and molecular imaging.



0299 Other Physical Sciences, Biomedical, Basic Science, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Immunization, Vaccine Related, Influenza, Pneumonia & Influenza, Infectious Diseases, Biotechnology, Infection

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Bioconjugate Chemistry

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American Chemical Society
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M003647/1)
European Research Council (676832)
European Commission (EC) (852985)
The authors acknowledge funding from the European Union (EDUFLUVAC project FP7-HEALTH-2013-INNOVATION), the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, Portugal; project HIVERA/0002/2013 and FCT Investigator to G.J.L.B.), EPSRC (to G.J.L.B.), the European Commission, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), and RISE project grant 644167. S. B. C., J. M. F., F. M., and D. G. acknowledge FCT for fellowships SFRH/BD/52302/2013, SFRH/BD/70423/2010, SFRH/BD/70139/2010, and SFRH/BPD/73500/2010, respectively. The authors acknowledge Ricardo Silva for all his help in fluorescence analysis implementation and fruitful discussions. The authors also acknowledge Patrícia Gomes-Alves for her help for mass spectrometry analysis. Mass spectrometry data was obtained by the Mass Spectrometry Unit (UniMS), ITQB/iBET, Oeiras, Portugal. G. J. L. B. is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and the recipient of a European Research Council Starting Grant (TagIt).