Immunoinformatics for Novel Multi-Epitope Vaccine Development in Canine Parvovirus Infections
Canine parvovirus (CPV-2) is one of the most important pathogens of dogs of all ages, causing pandemic infections that are characterized by fatal hemorrhagic enteritis. The CPV-2 vaccine is recommended as a core vaccine for pet animals. Despite the intensive practice of active immunization, CPV-2 remains a global threat. In this study, a multi-epitope vaccine against CPV-2 was designed, targeting the highly conserved capsid protein (VP2) via in silico approaches. Several immunoinformatics methods, such as epitope screening, molecular docking, and simulation were used to design a potential vaccine construct. The partial protein sequences of the VP2 gene of CPV-2 and protein sequences retrieved from the NCBI were screened to predict highly antigenic proteins through antigenicity, trans-membrane-topology screening, an allergenicity assessment, and a toxicity analysis. Homologous VP2 protein sequences typically linked to the disease were identified using NCBI BLAST, in which four conserved regions were preferred. Overall, 10 epitopes, DPIGGKTGI, KEFDTDLKP, GTDPDDVQ, GGTNFGYIG, GTFYFDCKP, NRALGLPP, SGTPTN, LGLPPFLNSL, IGGKTG, and VPPVYPN, were selected from the conserved regions to design the vaccine construct. The molecular docking demonstrated the higher binding affinity of these epitopes with dog leukocyte antigen (DLA) molecules. The selected epitopes were linked with Salmonella enterica flagellin FliC adjuvants, along with the PADRE sequence, by GGS linkers to construct a vaccine candidate with 272 nucleotides. The codon adaptation and in silico cloning showed that the generated vaccine can be expressed by the E. coli strain, K12, and the sequence of the vaccine construct showed no similarities with dog protein. Our results suggest that the vaccine construct might be useful in preventing canine parvoviral enteritis (CPE) in dogs. Further in vitro and in vivo experiments are needed for the validation of the vaccine candidate.