Focusing the immune response against sites of vulnerability

Because these conserved sites of vulnerability are so critical to a pathogen’s existence, they use immunodominant decoy epitopes and steric shielding to hide these epitopes from host immune responses. However, structural vaccinologists have designed synthetic peptides recapitulating the minimal epitopes of pathogens’ sites of vulnerability. As immunogens, these constructs lay bare a pathogen’s neutralizing sites as prime targets for immune responses.