Computer-Aided Tools and Resources for Fungal Pathogens: An Application of Reverse Vaccinology for Mucormycosis

Monoclon Antib Immunodiagn Immunother. 2022 Aug 8. doi: 10.1089/mab.2021.0039. Online ahead of print.


Increasing fungal infections in immunocompromised hosts are a growing concern for global public health. Along with treatments, preventive measures are required. The emergence of reverse vaccinology has opened avenues for using genomic and proteomic data from pathogens in the design of vaccines. In this work, we present a comprehensive collection of various computational tools and databases with potential to aid in vaccine development. The ongoing pandemic has directed attention toward the increasing number of mucormycosis infections in COVID-19 patients. As a case study, we developed a computational pipeline for assisting vaccine development for mucormycosis. We obtained 6 proteins from 29,447 sequences from UniProtKB as potential vaccine candidates against mucormycosis, fulfilling multiple criteria. These criteria included potential characteristics, namely adhesin properties, surface or extracellular localization, antigenicity, no similarity to any human proteins, nonallergenicity, stability in vitro, and expression in fungal cells. These six proteins were predicted to have B cell and T cell epitopes, proinflammatory inducing peptides, and orthologs in several mucormycosis-causing species. These data could aid in vaccine development against mucormycosis for at-risk individuals.

Keywords: computer aided tools; fungi; mucormycosis; reverse vaccinology; vaccine.