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Designing of a Novel Fusion Protein Vaccine Candidate Against Human Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) Using Immunoinformatics and Structural Approaches

  • Atapour, Amir1, 1
  • Ghalamfarsa, Farideh1
  • Naderi, Samaneh1
  • Hatam, Gholamreza1
  • 1 Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,
Published Article
International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics
Publication Date
Apr 24, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s10989-021-10218-8
PMID: 33935610
PMCID: PMC8067785
PubMed Central
  • Article


Leishmaniasis is caused by an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. The clinical forms of leishmaniasis differ from cutaneous leishmaniasis, mucocutaneous leishmaniasis and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) which depend on the parasite species and the host’s immune responses. There are significant challenges to the available anti-leishmanial drug therapy, particularly in severe forms of disease, and the rise of drug resistance has made it more difficult. Currently, no licensed vaccines have been introduced to the market for the control and elimination of VL. A potential target for use in candidate vaccines against leishmaniasis has been shown to be leishmania Kinetoplastid membrane protein-11 (KMP-11) antigen. In this study, we chose KMP-11 antigen as target antigen in our vaccine construct. In addition, B-type flagellin (fliC) was used as an adjuvant for enhancing vaccine immunogenicity. The GSGSGSGSGSG linker was applied to link the KMP-11 antigen and fliC (KMP-11-fliC) to construct our fusion protein. Bioinformatics approaches such as; 3D homology modeling, CTL, B-cell, MHC class I and II epitopes prediction, allergenicity, antigenicity evaluations, molecular docking, fast simulations of flexibility of docked complex and in silico cloning were employed to analysis and evaluation of various properties of the designed fusion construct. Computational results showed that our engineered structure has the potential for proper stimulation of cellular and humoral immune responses against VL. Consequently, it could be proposed as a candidate vaccine against VL according to these data and after verifying the efficacy of the candidate vaccine through in vivo and in vitro immunological tests.

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