Schistosoma mansoni vaccine candidates identified by unbiased phage display screening in self-cured rhesus macaques

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Schistosomiasis, a challenging neglected tropical disease, affects millions of people worldwide. Developing a prophylactic vaccine against Schistosoma mansoni has been hindered by the parasite’s biological complexity. In this study, we utilized the innovative phage-display immunoprecipitation followed by a sequencing approach (PhIP-Seq) to screen the immune response of 10 infected rhesus macaques during self-cure and challenge-resistant phases, identifying vaccine candidates. Our high-throughput S. mansoni synthetic DNA phage-display library encoded 99.6% of 119,747 58-mer peptides, providing comprehensive coverage of the parasite’s proteome. Library screening with rhesus macaques’ antibodies, from the early phase of establishment of parasite infection, identified significantly enriched epitopes of parasite extracellular proteins known to be expressed in the digestive tract, shifting towards intracellular proteins during the late phase of parasite clearance. Immunization of mice with a selected pool of PhIP-Seq-enriched phage-displayed peptides from MEG proteins, cathepsins B, and asparaginyl endopeptidase significantly reduced worm burden in a vaccination assay. These findings enhance our understanding of parasite-host immune responses and provide promising prospects for developing an effective schistosomiasis vaccine.
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