Epitope-Specific Anti-hCG Vaccines on a Virus Like Particle Platform.
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The possibility of a contraceptive vaccine targeting human chorionic gonadotropin has long been recognized, but never fully realized. Here we describe an epitope-specific approach based on immunogenic display of hCG-derived peptides on virus-like particles of RNA bacteriophage. A number of recombinant VLPs were constructed, each displaying a different hCG-derived peptide. Some were taken from the disordered C-terminal tail of the hormone, another came from an internal loop, and yet another was an epitope mimic produced by affinity-selection on an hCG-neutralizing antibody target. Immunization of mice with some VLPs yielded antisera that bound the hormone and neutralized hCG biological activity.