Contriving a chimeric polyvalent vaccine to prevent infections caused by herpes simplex virus (type-1 and type-2): an exploratory immunoinformatic approach

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) cause a variety of infections including oral-facial infections, genital herpes, herpes keratitis, cutaneous infection and so on. To date, FDA-approved licensed HSV vaccine is not available yet. Hence, the study was conducted to identify and characterize an effective epitope based polyvalent vaccine against both types of Herpes Simplex Virus. The selected proteins were retrieved from ViralZone and assessed to design highly antigenic epitopes by binding analyses of the peptides with MHC class-I and class-II molecules, antigenicity screening, transmembrane topology screening, allergenicity and toxicity assessment, population coverage analysis and molecular docking approach. The final vaccine was constructed by the combination of top CTL, HTL and BCL epitopes from each protein along with suitable adjuvant and linkers. Physicochemical and secondary structure analysis, disulfide engineering, molecular dynamic simulation and codon adaptation were further employed to develop a unique multi-epitope peptide vaccine. Docking analysis of the refined vaccine structure with different MHC molecules and human immune TLR-2 receptor demonstrated higher interaction. Complexed structure of the modeled vaccine and TLR-2 showed minimal deformability at molecular level. Moreover, translational potency and microbial expression of the modeled vaccine was analyzed with pET28a(+) vector for E. coli strain K12 and the vaccine constructs had no similarity with entire human proteome. The study enabled design of a novel chimeric polyvalent vaccine to confer broad range immunity against both HSV serotypes. However, further wet lab based research using model animals are highly recommended to experimentally validate our findings.

Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma