Background: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main biological agent causing Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), including precancerous lesions and several types of prevalent cancers. To date, numerous types of vaccines are designed to prevent high-risk HPV. However, their prophylactic effect is not the same and does not clear previous infections. Therefore, there is an urgent need for developing therapeutic vaccines that trigger cell-mediated immune responses for the treatment of HPV. The HPV16 E6 and E7 proteins are ideal targets for vaccine therapy against HPV. Fusion protein vaccines, which include both immunogenic interest protein and an adjuvant for augmenting the immunogenicity effects, are theoretically capable of guaranteeing the power of the immune system against HPV.
Methods: A vaccine construct, including HPV16 E6/E7 proteins along with a heat shock protein GP96 (E6/E7-NTGP96 construct), was designed using in silico methods. By the aid of the SWISS-- MODEL server, the optimal 3D model of the designed vaccine was selected, and then the physicochemical and molecular parameters were performed using bioinformatics tools. Docking studies were done to evaluate the binding interaction of the vaccine. Allergenicity, immunogenicity, B, and T cell epitopes of the designed construct were predicted.
Results: Immunological and structural computational results illustrated that our designed construct is potentially proper for stimulation of cellular and humoral immune responses against HPV.
Conclusion: Computational studies showed that the E6/E7-NTGP96 construct is a promising candidate vaccine that needs further in vitro and in vivo evaluations.