Prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases with plant virus nanoparticles

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Science Advances  06 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 19, eaaz0295
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz0295


Plant viruses are natural, self-assembling nanostructures with versatile and genetically programmable shells, making them useful in diverse applications ranging from the development of new materials to diagnostics and therapeutics. Here, we describe the design and synthesis of plant virus nanoparticles displaying peptides associated with two different autoimmune diseases. Using animal models, we show that the recombinant nanoparticles can prevent autoimmune diabetes and ameliorate rheumatoid arthritis. In both cases, this effect is based on a strictly peptide-related mechanism in which the virus nanoparticle acts both as a peptide scaffold and as an adjuvant, showing an overlapping mechanism of action. This successful preclinical testing could pave the way for the development of plant viruses for the clinical treatment of human autoimmune diseases.

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