Nanotoxoid vaccines

Che Ming J. Hu, Liangfang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


To improve innate defense against diseases, vaccine formulations are routinely administered to mount immune responses against disease-causing organisms or their associated toxins. These formulations are typically prepared with weakened forms of microbes, their surface proteins, or their virulence factors, which can train the immune system to recognize and neutralize similar infectious threats in later exposures. Owing to many unique properties of nanoparticles in enhancing vaccine potency, nanoscale carriers are drawing increasing interest as a platform for developing safer and more effective vaccine formulations. Notably, a nanoparticle-based strategy was recently demonstrated to safely deliver intact, non-denatured protein toxins to mount a potent anti-toxin immune response. A biomimetic nanoparticle cloaked in biological membranes was used to sequester membrane-active toxins. Upon interaction with the nanoparticles, the toxins become retrained and lose their toxicity as they are precluded from interacting with cellular targets. The resulting particle/toxin complex adopts a nanoparticulate morphology that facilitates the toxins' intracellular delivery. This sequestration approach has immense immunological implications owing to its ability in enabling structurally preserved toxins for immune processing. This technique offers opportunities in novel toxoid vaccine designs that promise more effective anti-toxin immune responses and contrasts the existing paradigm in toxoid preparation, in which toxins are antigenically altered to ensure virulence removal. The potent nanotoxoid formulations provide a viable anti-virulence measure in combating microbial infections that involve membrane-damaging toxins, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Group A streptococcal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-404
Number of pages4
JournalNano Today
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Aug 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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