The goal of the proposed research is to develop a hybrid therapeutic peptide that induces both immediate and long-lasting protection against respiratory infection. The first portion of this hybrid is a bioactive mimetic of the C5a receptor. This bioactive peptide (EP67) specifically targets a limited subset of C5a receptor bearing cell populations in vivo. The targeted subset includes dendritic cells and excludes neutrophils. Binding of EP67 to the C5aR on dendritic cells induces APC activation and cytokine secretion. When EP67 is delivered directly to the lungs, it mediates emergency protection against respiratory viral infection. In the first aim of this project we will use influenza A as a model pathogen to explore this protection. The second portion of this hybrid therapeutic is the influenza A fusion peptide. The fusion peptide is the only region of hemagglutinin conserved throughout all mammalian influenza A families. Immunity to this peptide sequence could result in complete protection from all strains of mammalian influenza A.
The second aim of the project will a panel of EP67-fusion loop hybrid peptide constructs for induction of immediate and long-term protection against serial influenza infection.
The final aim of the proposal will study the mechanisms responsible for EP67 induced protection following targeted delivery to C5a receptor bearing cells in the lungs. To accomplish these goals, we have assembled a research team with expertise in immunology, protein chemistry, therapeutic delivery systems, age-related immunodeficiency, biological response modification, molecular biology, and biostatistics. Successful completion of these aims could revolutionize the clinical prevention and treatment of respiratory pathogens, replacing yearly vaccination with direct pulmonary delivery of a low cost hybrid peptide therapeutic that induces immediate, lifelong protection.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this project is to develop a peptide therapeutic agent that mediates immediate and long-term protection against respiratory infection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Gene and Drug Delivery Systems Study Section (GDD)
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Okita, Richard T
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San Diego State University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
San Diego
United States
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Karuturi, Bala Vamsi K; Tallapaka, Shailendra B; Phillips, Joy A et al. (2015) Preliminary evidence that the novel host-derived immunostimulant EP67 can act as a mucosal adjuvant. Clin Immunol 161:251-9
Sanderson, Sam D; Thoman, Marilyn L; Kis, Kornelia et al. (2012) Innate immune induction and influenza protection elicited by a response-selective agonist of human C5a. PLoS One 7:e40303
Sheen, Tamsin R; Cavaco, Courtney K; Ebrahimi, Celia M et al. (2011) Control of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection utilizing a novel immunostimulatory peptide. Vaccine 30:9-13