Amino-functionalized poly(l-lactide) lamellar single crystals as a valuable substrate for delivery of HPV16-E7 tumor antigen in vaccine development

Paola Di Bonito, Linda Petrone, Gabriele Casini, Iolanda Francolini, Maria Grazia Ammendolia, Luisa Accardi, Antonella Piozzi, Lucio D’Ilario, Andrea Martinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) is a biodegradable polymer currently used in many bio-medical applications, including the production of resorbable surgical devices, porous scaffolds for tissue engineering, nanoparticles and microparticles for the controlled release of drugs or antigens. The surfaces of lamellar PLLA single crystals (PLLAsc) were provided with amino groups by reaction with a multifunctional amine and used to adsorb an Escherichia coli-produced human papillomavirus (HPV)16-E7 protein to evaluate its possible use in antigen delivery for vaccine development. Methods: PLLA single crystals were made to react with tetraethylenepentamine to obtain amino-functionalized PLLA single crystals (APLLAsc). Pristine and amino-functionalized PLLAsc showed a two-dimensional microsized and one-dimensional nanosized lamellar morphology, with a lateral dimension of about 15–20 µm, a thickness of about 12 nm, and a surface specific area of about 130 m2/g. Both particles were characterized and loaded with HPV16-E7 before being administered to C57BL/6 mice for immunogenicity studies. The E7-specific humoral-mediated and cell-mediated immune response as well as tumor protective immunity were analyzed in mice challenged with TC-1 cancer cells. Results: Pristine and amino-functionalized PLLAsc adsorbed similar amounts of E7 protein, but in protein-release experiments E7-PLLAsc released a higher amount of protein than E7-APLLAsc. When the complexes were dried for observation by scanning electron microscopy, both samples showed a compact layer, but E7-APLLAsc showed greater roughness than E7-PLLAsc. Immunization experiments in mice showed that E7-APLLAsc induced a stronger E7-specific immune response when compared with E7-PLLAsc. Immunoglobulin G isotyping and interferon gamma analysis suggested a mixed Th1/Th2 immune response in both E7-PLLAsc-immunized and E7-APLLAsc-immunized mice. However, only the mice receiving E7-APLLAsc were fully protected from TC-1 tumor growth after three doses of vaccine. Conclusion: Our results show that APLLA single crystals improve the immunogenicity of HPV16-E7 and indicate that E7-APLLAsc could be used for development of an HPV16 therapeutic vaccine against HPV16-related tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3447-3458
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
Publication statusPublished - May 8 2015


  • HPV16-E7
  • Human papillomavirus
  • Lamellar crystals
  • Poly(l-lactide)
  • Therapeutic vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Drug Discovery


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