Cochleates are phospholipid-calcium precipitates derived from the interaction of anionic lipid vesicles with divalent cations. Proteoliposomes from bacteria may also be used as a source of negatively charged components, to induce calcium-cochleate formation. In this study, proteoliposomes from V. cholerae O1 (PLc) (sized 160.7±1.6 nm) were transformed into larger (16.3±4.6 µm) cochleate-like structures (named Adjuvant Finlay Cochleate 2, AFCo2) and evaluated by electron microscopy (EM). Measurements from transmission EM (TEM) showed the structures had a similar size to that previously reported using light microscopy, while observations from scanning electron microscopy (SEM) indicated that the structures were multilayered and of cochleate-like formation. The edges of the AFCo2 structures appeared to have spaces that allowed penetration of negative stain or Ovalbumin labeled with Texas Red (OVA-TR) observed by epi-fluorescence microscopy. In addition, freeze fracture electron microscopy confirmed that the AFCo2 structures consisted of multiple overlapping layers, which corresponds to previous descriptions of cochleates. TEM also showed that small vesicles co-existed with the larger cochleate structures, and in vitro treatment with a calcium chelator caused the AFCo2 to unfold and reassemble into small proteoliposome-like structures. Using OVA as a model antigen, we demonstrated the potential loading capacity of a heterologous antigen and in vivo studies showed that with simple admixing and administration via intragastric and intranasal routes AFCo2 provided enhanced adjuvant properties compared with PLc.
- scanning electron microscopy