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Converting Symbiotic Microbes into Vaccine Vectors
In the Literature.

This week GNN presents a feature on using symbiotic microbes to deliver therapeutic genes to fight fungal infections, intestinal inflammation and a group of genetic lysosomal storage diseases. Some of those microbes are also being probed for their ability to serve as vaccines. The idea, as with any vaccine, is to give the body a preview of a bacterium, virus or toxin without triggering disease. In recent issues of Vaccine and Immunology research teams led by D. Medaglini and D. M. Shaw respectively use commensal microbes, Streptococcus gordonii and lactobacilli, to create and deliver tetanus vaccines. The abstracts for these reports appear below.

Bijal P. Trivedi


Immunization with recombinant Streptococcus gordonii expressing tetanus toxin fragment C confers protection from lethal challenge in mice.

Tetanus toxin fragment C (TTFC) was expressed on the surface of the vaccine vector Streptococcus gordonii, a Gram-positive commensal bacterium of the human oral cavity. The immunogenicity of recombinant S. gordonii expressing TTFC was assayed in mice immunized by the parenteral and mucosal routes. High serum TTFC-specific IgG responses were induced in both BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice immunized subcutaneously. A total of 82% of vaccinated BALB/c mice were protected from the lethal challenge with 50 LD(50) of tetanus toxin (TT) and a direct correlation between the serum TTFC-specific IgG concentration and survival time of unprotected animals was observed. Intranasal immunization of BALB/c mice was also effective in inducing TTFC-specific serum IgG and local IgA in lung washes. Furthermore, 38% of animals immunized intranasally were protected from the lethal challenge with 10 LD(50) of TT while all control animals died within 24 h. Analysis of the serum IgG subclasses showed that the IgG1 subclass was predominant after parenteral immunization in BALB/c mice (IgG1/IgG2a ratio congruent with6) while following mucosal immunization a mixed IgG1 and IgG2a pattern (IgG1/IgG2a ratio congruent with1) was observed. These data show that TTFC expressed on the surface of S. gordonii is immunogenic by the subcutaneous and mucosal routes and the immune response induced is capable of conferring protection from the lethal challenge with TT.

Vaccine 2001 Feb 28;19(15-16):1931-9

Engineering the microflora to vaccinate the mucosa: serum immunoglobulin G responses and activated draining cervical lymph nodes following mucosal application of tetanus toxin fragment C-expressing lactobacilli.

The delivery of antigens to mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues in paediatric and immunocompromised populations by safe, non-invasive vectors, such as commensal lactobacilli, represents a crucial improvement to prevailing vaccination options. In this report, we describe the oral and nasal immunization of mice with vaccines constructed through an original system for heterologous gene expression in Lactobacillus in which the 50 000-molecular weight (MW) fragment C of tetanus toxin (TTFC) is expressed either as an intracellular or a surface-exposed protein. Our data indicate that L. plantarum is more effective in this respect than L. casei and that, under the experimental conditions investigated, delivery of TTFC expressed as an intracellular antigen is more effective than cell-surface expression. Immunization of mice with live recombinant lactobacilli induced significant levels of circulating TTFC-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) following nasal or oral delivery of vaccine strains. In addition, following nasal delivery, secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) was induced in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids, as were antigen-specific antibody-secreting cells and antigen-specific T-cell activation in draining lymph nodes, substantiating their potential for safe mucosal delivery of paediatric vaccines.

Immunology 2000 Aug;100(4):510-8

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