Self-assembling peptides have shown great potential for drug delivery, cancer cell inhibition, and regenerative medicine. Recently studies indicate that they are also promising for subunit vaccine delivery. We summarize in this tutorial review two strategies to deliver subunit vaccines, one by covalently conjugating and the other one by physically mixing. By the former strategy, protein and peptide antigens are covalently connected with self-assembling peptides, and the resulting peptides can self-assemble into nanofibers by themselves or by mixing with the original self-assembling peptides. For the latter one, antigens including DNA, proteins, and attenuated cells physically interact with nanofibers of self-assembling peptides via charge interaction, hydrogen bonding, hydrophobic interaction, etc. Both strategies can prolong the lifetime of subunit vaccines at injection sites, assist antigen uptake by antigen-presenting cells (APCs), facilitate transportation of antigens from injection sites to lymph nodes, and stimulate downstream immune responses. Vaccines based on self-assembling peptides can raise stronger antibody productions, which is useful for protective vaccine development and antibody production. Besides, several vaccines capable of eliciting strong CD8+ T-cell response are also introduced in this paper, and they are promising for the development of vaccines to treat important diseases such as cancers and HIV. Challenges remained are also discussed in the last section of the paper. Overall, self-assembling peptides are very useful for antibody production and the development of novel vaccines to treat important diseases.
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1.State Key Laboratory of Medicinal Chemical Biology, Key Laboratory of Bioactive Materials, Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, and Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering (Tianjin)Nankai UniversityTianjinChina