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Vaccine Components: Antigen, Carrier and Adjuvant

by Peter Delves, PhD
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    Let’s look now at some of the individual components that need to be present in a vaccine. Well of course the most obvious one is the antigen. You want to generate a antigen specific memory response. You can use the whole organism. Obviously you can’t use it unmodified because it would cause the pathology that the natural infection would cause, and that’s not going to be very helpful is it? But you can grow organisms so that they lose some of their pathogenicity. We call that a live attenuated organism. Or you can kill the organism. Or you can take little bits of the organism, individual antigens from the organism and use those as subunit vaccines. You often need to add a carrier, particularly with subunit vaccines because there may not be sufficient sequence to provide helper T-cell epitopes; in other words, peptides that can be shown by the MHC to the T-cell receptor on helper T-cells. So particularly with subunit vaccines, they may be coupled to a larger protein molecule as you can see here. Often one also needs to add something called an adjuvant. Now an adjuvant is a substance that non-specifically stimulates a specific immune response. And they work in a number of ways but predominantly they act as a depot so that the antigen gets released over a period of time rather than all being seen immediately. And they also activate dendritic cells, so it acts as a dendritic cell activator. And they’re equivalent really to a PAMP, to a Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern; causing dendritic cells to up-regulate the co-stimulatory molecule CD80 and CD86. And therefore providing a really strong co-stimulation to T-cells. Examples of adjuvants include a number of aluminum salts - aluminium hydroxide, aluminium phosphate, alum which is potassium aluminium sulfate, or mixed...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Vaccine Components: Antigen, Carrier and Adjuvant by Peter Delves, PhD is from the course Vaccine Immunology. It contains the following chapters:

    • A Closer Look on Vaccine Components
    • Uses of Vaccines

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. TLR4
    2. TLR1
    3. TLR2
    4. TLR3
    5. TLR5
    1. Stimulates antigen uptake and stimulate an immune response.
    2. Provides Helper T cell epitopes
    3. Functions as a subunit to an antigen
    4. Facilitates recognition by Dendritic cells
    5. Neutralizes pathogenic nature of live-attenuated viruses
    1. Zoster
    2. Polio
    3. Rabies
    4. Rubella
    5. HPV/HBV

    Author of lecture Vaccine Components: Antigen, Carrier and Adjuvant

     Peter Delves, PhD

    Peter Delves, PhD


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