Aldehyde modification of peptide immunogen enhances protein-reactive antibody response to toxic shock syndrome toxin-1

Alfonso Bavoso, Angela Ostuni, Jolanda De Vendel, Francesco Pollaro, Francesca Armentano, Thomas Knight, Sudesh P Makker, Alfonso Tramontano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction of aldehyde groups into protein conjugates enhanced the immune response to a coupled peptide without the use of strong adjuvants. Synthetic peptides representing the N-terminal (residues 1-16) and internal (residues 53-65) epitopes of toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) were coupled to carrier protein, and carbonyl tags were introduced by Amadori reaction with glycolaldehyde. Modified and unmodified antigens in alum were used to immunize rabbits and the reactivities of antisera were compared. Aldehyde modification augmented the response detected by ELISA, which included enhanced binding to peptides and to native TSST-1. In western blot, TSST-1 was detected by antiserum elicited to the N-terminal peptide, but not that generated to the peptide representing the internal sequence. The same antiserum also neutralized TSST-1 activity in a lymphocyte proliferation assay. The circular dichroism spectrum of the N-terminal peptide indicated a propensity for helical conformation, similar to the structure at the corresponding sequence of the native protein. These data suggest that aldehyde modification can boost immunogenicity of peptide-based vaccines, generating epitope-specific immune responses against the cognate protein antigens without using potent adjuvants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-849
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Peptide Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Adjuvant
  • Aldehyde
  • Amadori reaction
  • Innate immunity
  • Peptide vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry


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