Peptides for Influenza Research

Synthetic peptides are versatile tools to help develop vaccines against new Influenza A viral strains

Pools or libraries of synthetic peptides derived from Influenza A viral proteins can be used to screen for and identify human leukocyte class I (HLA-I) restricted cytotoxic T cell (CTL) epitopes.

Pools of libraries of synthetic peptides are ideal tools to determine hemaglutinin-specific antibody titers against the flu virus (Influenza Virus). A universal vaccine against the influenza virus could theoretically provide protection against all strains of influenza. The use of synthetic peptide for the development of such a vaccine is presently investigated as one route for vaccine development.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and NIAID presently supports researchers to develop new influenza vaccine technologies. The goal is to help the United States and the world be better prepared and to mount a speedy response to the next pandemic caused by new Influenza A strains.

The NIAID is exploring several platforms to develop new vaccines

  • DNA-based Vaccines
  • Recombinant Subunit Vaccines
  • Microbial Vector Vaccines
  • Synthetic Peptide Vaccines
  • Universal Vaccines
  • Optimizing Vaccines and Vaccine Production
  • Regulatory Sciences to Increase Vaccine Availability


The 2013 H7N9 Influenza A Outbreak

H7N9 virus comb

Several cases of the new Influenza virus A H7N9 subtype were identified in Shanghai, China and surrounding provinces in March 2013.

Forbes reports on April 29, 2013 that “Shanghai on Monday reported another H7N9 bird flu death, an 89-year-old man who was admitted to a city hospital on April 12, according to the state-published Shanghai Daily newspaper.

The latest fatality raises to 13 the number of H7N9-related deaths in the city, which is one of China’s most important international business hubs. Nationwide, 24 people have died, the paper said.

The total number of H7N9 cases in the mainland stands at 125, not including one illness in Taiwan.  China’s government, which has territorial disputes with a number of Asian countries, also claims sovereignty over Taiwan’s 23 million people, and combines H7N9 case reporting from the two.

The newly discovered H7N9 disease has spread from eastern China both northward and southward, leading to the closure of wet markets where live chicken is sold as a preventative measure.  Early damage estimates to the country’s poultry industry have been at more than $1 billion.”

Since it is known that CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) responses play a major role in the control of primery influenza virus infection HLA-I CTL restricted peptides that contain CTL epitopes may allow the development of such a vaccine. Synthetic peptides can be produced chemically and don’t need to be grown in eggs or cell culture. Portions of influenza proteins containing CTL epitopes that stimulate antibody production can be synthesized and formulated into a vaccine to stimulate an immune response. However, peptides alone stimulate a very weak immune response therefore the use of an adjuvant or any other delivering method of peptides to the immune cells that can strengthen that response is needed.

Sequence information to select and design synthetic peptide epitope libraries can be retrieved from the influenza sequence databases:


Biosynthesis Incorporated is offering “Influenza Peptide Pools” to help scientists accelerate their research.


Categories: Bioanalysis, Bioinformatics, Deep sequencing, DNA, Flu, Genetics, Genome, H1N1, H7N9, Peptide Synthesis, peptides, Protein Families, Protein Structure, Proteins, Sequence Annotation, Synthesis, Vaccines, Virus

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