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Title: Virus-like particles as a novel platform for delivery of protective Burkholderia antigens
Author: Bayliss, Marc Ashley
ISNI:       0000 0004 6057 2852
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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A thesis by Marc Ashley Bayliss entitled ‘Virus-like particles as a novel platform for delivery of protective Burkholderia antigens’ and submitted to the University of Exeter for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. There is currently no licensed vaccine available for the global tropical pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei which is the causative agent of melioidosis and a potential bio-threat agent. The capsule polysaccharide (CPS) expressed by B. pseudomallei has been shown to offer some protection against bacterial challenge. Polysaccharide immunogenicity can be enhanced by conjugation to a carrier protein and several licensed vaccines utilise this technology. Virus-like particles (VLPs) are non-infectious, non-replicating, viral proteins that self-assemble into viral structures and are in several licensed vaccines as primary antigens. VLPs are also effective delivery platforms for foreign antigens by genetic insertion or chemical conjugation. iQur, a collaborator on this project, has developed Tandem CoreTM that consists of two genetically linked hepatitis B core proteins that allow insertion of large proteins into each core whilst remaining assembly competent. The aim of this thesis was to assess the protective efficacy of Tandem CoreTM VLPs chemically conjugated to CPS and Tandem CoreTM Burkholderia protein fusion constructs. This involved three objectives; reduce the cost of CPS extraction; identify immunogenic Burkholderia proteins; and test candidate vaccine efficacy in an animal model of acute melioidosis against B. pseudomallei challenge. To reduce the cost of extraction, CPS was purified from B. thailandensis strain E555 and bacterial culture CPS concentration optimised which first required development of a quantitative ELISA. Immunogenic Burkholderia proteins were identified from the literature but Tandem CoreTM fusion constructs containing these proteins were not assembly competent. The Burkholderia proteins were added as co-antigens to the VLP CPS conjugate vaccine but did not improve efficacy. Tandem CoreTM VLPs conjugated to CPS were protective against B. pseudomallei challenge and were compared to CPS conjugated to Crm197: a commercially available carrier protein used in several licensed vaccines. At lower challenge doses, survival was greater in mice vaccinated with the VLP-CPS conjugate although at higher doses, Crm197-CPS efficacy was greater.
Supervisor: Harmer, Nicholas Sponsor: Defense Threat Reduction Agency
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Burkholderia ; Melioidosis ; Conjugate vaccine ; capsular polysaccharide ; Glanders