Higher mass meningococcal group C-tetanus toxoid vaccines conjugated with carbodiimide correlate with greater immunogenicity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To examine the link between meningococcal C (MenC) vaccine size and immunogenic response, a panel of MenC glycoconjugate vaccines were prepared differing in chain length, molar mass and hydrodynamic volume. The preparations consisted of different lengths of MenC polysaccharide (PS) covalently linked to monomeric purified tetanus toxoid (TT) carrier protein using the coupling reagent ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC). Size exclusion chromatography with multi-angle light scattering (SEC-MALS) and viscometry analysis confirmed that the panel ofof MenC-TT conjugates spanned masses of 191,500 to 2,348,000 g/mol, and hydrodynamic radii ranging from 12.1 to 47.9 nm. The two largest conjugates were elliptical in shape, whereas the two smallest conjugates were more spherical. The larger conjugates appeared to fit a model described by multiple TTs with cross-linked PS, typical of lattice-like networks described previously for TT conjugates, while the smaller conjugates were found to fit a monomeric or dimeric TT configuration. The effect of vaccine conjugate size on immune responses was determined using a two-dose murine immunization. The two larger panel vaccine conjugates produced higher anti-MenC IgG1 and IgG2b titres after the second dose. Larger vaccine conjugate size also stimulated greater T-cell proliferative responses in an in vitro recall assay, although cytokines indicative of a T-helper response were not measurable. In conclusion, larger MenC-TT conjugates up to 2,348,000 g/mol produced by EDC chemistry correlate with greater humoral and cellular murine immune responses. These observations suggest that conjugate size can be an important modulator of immune response.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Issue number13
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2020