Antigenic peptide nanofibers elicit adjuvant-free CD8+ T cell responses

Charles B. Chesson, Erica J. Huelsmann, Andrew T. Lacek, Frederick J. Kohlhapp, Matthew F. Webb, Arman Nabatiyan, Andrew Zloza, Jai S. Rudra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Vaccines that elicit robust CD8+ T cell responses are desirable for protection against infectious diseases and cancers. However, most vaccine adjuvants fail to elicit robust CD8+ T cell responses without inflammation and associated toxicity. We recently reported that self-assembling peptides that form nanofibers in physiological buffers elicited strong adjuvant-free and antigen-specific antibody responses in mice. However, whether or not such nanofibers likewise can elicit strong CD8+ T cell responses is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the self-assembling peptide Q11 conjugated to a CD8+ T cell epitope of ovalbumin (Q11-OVA), elicits strong antigen-specific primary and recall responses, and in a vaccination regimen protects against subsequent infection. Importantly, we show that these antigenic peptide nanofibers do not persist as an inflammatory antigen depot at the injection site. Our results demonstrate for the first time that self-assembling peptides may be useful as carriers for vaccines where CD8+ T cell-mediated protection is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1174-1180
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Feb 26 2014


  • Adjuvant
  • CD8 T cell
  • Nanofiber
  • Peptide
  • Self-assembly
  • Vaccine


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