What Is Lysine?
Lysine, also known as L-lysine, is an essential amino acid that plays a crucial role in various biological processes. As a key component of proteins, lysine is necessary for the growth and maintenance of body tissues. It is obtained through diet since the human body cannot synthesize it on its own. Lysine is found in various food sources, such as meat, fish, dairy products, and legumes. In recent years, lysine has gained significant attention in the field of medicine and biotechnology due to its biological effects and applications
Biological Effects of Lysine
- Collagen production and wound healing
Lysine plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, a protein that is essential for healthy skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones. It is believed that lysine supplementation may aid in wound healing and tissue repair.
- Immune support
Lysine is involved in the production of enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. It plays a critical role in ensuring proper enzymatic reactions, hormone synthesis, and immune system function. Lysine is commonly used as a supplement to support a healthy immune system. Some studies suggest that lysine may help in preventing viral infections like cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). 
- Antiviral properties
Lysine has shown potential antiviral properties against various viruses, including herpes simplex virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Research is ongoing to explore its effectiveness against other viral infections.
Lysine for Vaccines
Lysine is not commonly used directly in vaccines; however, it can indirectly play a role in vaccine development and formulation.
- Stabilizing vaccine antigens
Lysine can be utilized as a buffer or stabilizing agent to enhance the stability and longevity of vaccine antigens. It can help maintain the antigen's structure, preventing denaturation and degradation during storage and transportation, thus improving the vaccine's efficacy.
- Vaccine formulation
Lysine can be included as an excipient in vaccine formulations to support the stability of other components. It can serve as a buffering agent, maintaining the desired pH for optimal vaccine stability and preventing degradation.
- Adjuvant development
Lysine-based molecules or lysine-containing compounds can be used as adjuvants in vaccines to enhance the immune response. Adjuvants are substances that are added to vaccines to enhance and prolong the immune response by stimulating the immune system. Lysine-based adjuvants can activate immune cells, such as dendritic cells, macrophages, and T cells, leading to improved vaccine efficacy.
- Vaccine viral vector construction
Some viral vector-based vaccines, such as those using adenoviruses or lentiviruses, can incorporate lysine modifications to the vector's genome. These modifications can enhance stability, improve gene expression, or alter the viral tropism for specific targeting.
Preparation of Polylysine from Lysine
Poly-ε-lysine (ε-PL), which has a wide range of biomedical applications, can be further synthesized from lysine. ε-PL is a rare cationic, naturally occurring homopolyamide made from L-lysine with an amide bond between the ε-amino and α-carboxyl groups. Polylysine has been widely studied in the fields of delivery systems, bioadhesives, and biofibers. For example, polylysine has been used to deliver a variety of cargos, such as small molecule drugs, genes, proteins, and imaging agents. [2-3]
- Venthan J. Mailoo, et al. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2017, 16(3): 42-46.
- Ing-Lung Shih, et al. Bioresource Technology, 2006, 79(9): 1148-1159.
- Saeed Manouchehri, et al. Mol. Pharmaceutics, 2021, 18, 10, 3652-3670.
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