Herein, a novel method to synthesize soluble, sub-micrometer sized protein aggregates is demonstrated by mixing native and denatured proteins without using bacteria and contaminating proteins. Ovalbumin (OVA) is employed as a model protein. The average size of the formed aggregates can be controlled by adjusting the fraction of denatured protein in the sample and it is possible to make unimodal size distributions of protein aggregates. OVA aggregates with a size of ∼95 nm are found to be more immunogenic compared to native OVA in a murine splenocyte proliferation assay. These results suggest that the novel method of engineering size specific sub-micrometer sized aggregates may constitute a potential route to increasing the efficacy of protein vaccines. The protein aggregates may also be promising for use in other applications including the surface functionalization of biomaterials and as industrial catalysis materials.
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