Protein carriers that are commonly used include bovine serum albumin (BSA), keyhole limpet hemocyanin(KLH), and ovalbumin (OVA). The two carriers KLH and OVA are widely used for routine immunogen preparation. Synthetic carrier constructs have also been used in the design of conjugate vaccines or immunogens. For instance, a popular peptide-like carrier consists of a polylysine core typically containing four or eight branched amino acids to which peptide haptens may be attached at each pendent side-chain amine group. This design is called the “multiple antigenic peptide” (MAP) systemand the final conjugate typically has up to eight copies of peptide antigens attached to each core structure.
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Vaccine or immunogen conjugates typically are prepared by conjugating a peptide hapten to a carrier protein such as keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), which provides the immunogenicity needed to elicit an immune response to the peptide. Peptides can be synthesized to contain a terminal cysteine thiol group for convenient conjugation using SMCC-activated KLH.
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