Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is the leading cause of death due to bacterial infections in mankind, and BCG, an attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis, is an approved vaccine. BCG sequesters in immature phagosomes of antigen presenting cells (APCs), which do not fuse with lysosomes, leading to decreased antigen processing and reduced Th1 responses. However, an Mtb derived ΔfbpA attenuated mutant underwent limited phagosome maturation, enhanced immunogenicity and was as effective as BCG in protecting mice against TB. To facilitate phagosome maturation of ΔfbpA, we disrupted an additional gene sapM, which encodes for an acid phosphatase. Compared to the wild type Mtb, the ΔfbpAΔsapM (double knock out; DKO) strain was attenuated for growth in mouse macrophages and PMA activated human THP1 macrophages. Attenuation correlated with increased oxidants in macrophages in response to DKO infection and enhanced labeling of lysosomal markers (CD63 and rab7) on DKO phagosomes. An in vitro Antigen 85B peptide presentation assay was used to determine antigen presentation to T cells by APCs infected with DKO or other mycobacterial strains. This revealed that DKO infected APCs showed the strongest ability to present Ag85B to T cells (>2500 pgs/mL in 4 hrs) as compared to APCs infected with wild type Mtb or ΔfbpA or ΔsapM strain (<1000 pgs/mL in 4 hrs), indicating that DKO strain has enhanced immunogenicity than other strains. The ability of DKO to undergo lysosomal fusion and vacuolar acidification correlated with antigen presentation since bafilomycin, that inhibits acidification in APCs, reduced antigen presentation. Finally, the DKO vaccine elicited a better Th1 response in mice after subcutaneous vaccination than either ΔfbpA or ΔsapM. Since ΔfbpA has been used in mice as a candidate vaccine and the DKO (ΔfbpAΔsapM) mutant is more immunogenic than ΔfbpA, we propose the DKO is a potential anti-tuberculosis vaccine.
The tuberculosis vaccine Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) was equipped with the membrane-perforating listeriolysin (Hly) of Listeria monocytogenes, which was shown to improve protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Following aerosol challenge, the Hly-secreting recombinant BCG (hly+ rBCG) vaccine was shown to protect significantly better against aerosol infection with M. tuberculosis than did the parental BCG strain. The isogenic, urease C–deficient hly+ rBCG (ΔureC hly+ rBCG) vaccine, providing an intraphagosomal pH closer to the acidic pH optimum for Hly activity, exhibited still higher vaccine efficacy than parental BCG. ΔureC hly+ rBCG also induced profound protection against a member of the M. tuberculosis Beijing/W genotype family while parental BCG failed to do so consistently. Hly not only promoted antigen translocation into the cytoplasm but also apoptosis of infected macrophages. We concluded that superior vaccine efficacy of ΔureC hly+ rBCG as compared with parental BCG is primarily based on improved cross-priming, which causes enhanced T cell–mediated immunity.
Our understanding of the correlation of Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-mediated immune responses and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is still limited. We have recently characterized a Wistar rat model of experimental tuberculosis (TB). In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of BCG vaccination in this model. Upon Mtb challenge, BCG vaccinated rats controlled growth of the bacilli earlier than unvaccinated rats. Histopathology analysis of infected lungs demonstrated a reduced number of granulomatous lesions and lower parenchymal inflammation in vaccinated animals. Vaccine-mediated protection correlated with the rapid accumulation of antigen specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in the infected lungs. Immunohistochemistry further revealed higher number of CD8+ cells in the pulmonary granulomas of vaccinated animals. Evaluation of pulmonary immune responses in vaccinated and Mtb infected rats by real time PCR at day 15 post-challenge showed reduced expression of genes responsible for negative regulation of Th1 immune responses. Thus, early protection observed in BCG vaccinated rats correlated with a similarly timed shift of immunity towards the Th1 type response. Our data support the importance of (i) the Th1-Th2 balance in the control of mycobacterial infection and (ii) the value of the Wistar rats in understanding the biology of TB.
In spite of a consistent protection against tuberculosis (TB) in children, Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) fails to provide adequate protection against the disease in adults as well as against reactivation of latent infections or exogenous reinfections. It has been speculated that failure to generate adequate memory T cell response, elicitation of inadequate immune response against latency-associated antigens and inability to impart long-term immunity against M. tuberculosis infections are some of the key factors responsible for the limited efficiency of BCG in controlling TB.
In this study, we evaluated the ability of a DNA vaccine expressing α-crystallin- a key latency antigen of M. tuberculosis to boost the BCG induced immunity. ‘BCG prime – DNA boost’ regimen (B/D) confers robust protection in guinea pigs along with a reduced pathology in comparison to BCG vaccination (1.37 log10 and 1.96 log10 fewer bacilli in lungs and spleen, respectively; p<0.01). In addition, B/D regimen also confers enhanced protection in mice. Further, we show that B/D immunization in mice results in a heightened frequency of PPD and antigen specific multi-functional CD4 T cells (3+) simultaneously producing interferon (IFN)γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and interleukin (IL)2.
These results clearly indicate the superiority of α-crystallin based B/D regimen over BCG. Our study, also demonstrates that protection against TB is predictable by an increased frequency of 3+ Th1 cells with superior effector functions. We anticipate that this study would significantly contribute towards the development of superior booster vaccines for BCG vaccinated individuals. In addition, this regimen can also be expected to reduce the risk of developing active TB due to reactivation of latent infection.
In the light of the recent emergence of multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) in populations coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus, and the failure of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) to protect against disease, new vaccines against TB are urgently needed. Two promising new vaccine candidates are the recombinant ΔureC hly+ BCG (recBCG), which has been developed to replace the current BCG vaccine strain, and modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) expressing M. tuberculosis antigen 85A (MVA85A), which is a leading candidate vaccine designed to boost the protective efficacy of BCG. In the present study, we examined the effect of MVA85A boosting on the protection afforded at 12 weeks postchallenge by BCG and recBCG by using bacterial CFU as an efficacy readout. recBCG-immunized mice were significantly better protected against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis than mice immunized with the parental strain of BCG. Intradermal boosting with MVA85A did not reduce the bacterial burden any further. In order to identify a marker for the development of a protective immune response against M. tuberculosis challenge, we analyzed splenocytes after priming or prime-boosting by using intracytoplasmic cytokine staining and assays for cytokine secretion. Boosting with MVA85A, but not priming with BCG or recBCG, greatly increased the antigen 85A-specific T-cell response, suggesting that the mechanism of protection may differ from that against BCG or recBCG. We show that the numbers of systemic multifunctional cytokine-producing cells did not correlate with protection against aerosol challenge in BALB/c mice. This emphasizes the need for new biomarkers for the evaluation of TB vaccine efficacy.
Tuberculosis remains one of the most significant diseases of humans and animals. The only currently available vaccine against this disease is a live, attenuated vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), which was originally derived from Mycobacterium bovis and despite its variable efficacy is the most widely administered vaccine in the world. With the advent of the human immunodeficiency virus-AIDS pandemic concern has been raised over the safety of BCG. Moreover, since BCG sensitizes vaccinated individuals to the tuberculin test, vaccination with BCG prevents diagnosis of infection in vaccinated individuals. Recently, auxotrophic strains of BCG have been generated by insertional mutagenesis which have been shown to be safer than the parent BCG strain following administration to mice with severe combined immunodeficiency disease. These strains have also been shown to give comparable protection against intravenous and intratracheal challenge of BALB/c mice with M. tuberculosis relative to conventional BCG. Here we report that one of these mutants, a leucine auxotroph of BCG, conferred significant protection of the lungs and spleens of guinea pigs infected with M. bovis and protection of the spleens of guinea pigs infected with M. tuberculosis in the absence of a cutaneous hypersensitivity reaction to tuberculin. Therefore, protective immunity to tuberculosis may, at least in part, be achieved without sensitization to the tuberculin skin test. These results indicate that it may be possible to develop a new generation of vaccines based on BCG that are protective, are safe for use in the immunocompromised, and do not preclude the use of the tuberculin skin test in both humans and animals.
Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette Guérin (BCG) was first administered to humans in 1921 and has subsequently been delivered to an estimated 3 billion individuals, with a low incidence of serious complications. The vaccine is immunogenic and is stable and cheap to produce. Additionally, the vaccine can be engineered to express foreign molecules in a functional form, and this has driven the development of BCG as a recombinant vector to protect against infectious diseases and malignancies such as cancer. However, it is now clear that the existing BCG vaccine has proved insufficient to control the spread of tuberculosis, and a major focus of tuberculosis vaccine development programs is the construction and testing of modified forms of BCG. This review summarizes the strategies employed to develop recombinant forms of BCG and describes the potential of these vaccines to stimulate protective immunity and protect against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
recombinant BCG; tuberculosis; vaccine; protective immunity; cytokines
The only currently available vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) is Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), which has inconsistent efficacy to protect against the disease in adults. M. tuberculosis (MTB) cell wall components have been implicated in the pathogenicity of TB and therefore have been a prime target for the identification and characterization of cell wall proteins with potential application in vaccine development. In this regard, proteoliposomes (PLs) derived from mycobacteria containing lipids and cell wall proteins could be potential vaccine candidates against TB. In the present study PLs derived from BCG were prepared. These homogeneous population of spherical microparticles was then immunized into Balb/c mice. Sera of immunized animals showed high IgG response and strong cross-reactivity against different MTB antigens.These results showed that BCG PLs could be potential vaccine candidates against TB.
The long-term control of tuberculosis (TB) will require the development of more effective anti-TB vaccines, as the only licensed vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), has limited protective efficacy against infectious pulmonary TB. Subunit vaccines have an improved safety profile over live, attenuated vaccines, such as BCG, and may be used in immuno-compromised individuals. MPT83 (Rv2873) is a secreted mycobacterial lipoprotein expressed on the surface of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this study, we examined whether recombinant MPT83 is recognized during human and murine M. tuberculosis infection. We assessed the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of MPT83 as a protein vaccine, with monophosphyl lipid A (MPLA) in dimethyl-dioctadecyl ammonium bromide (DDA) as adjuvant, or as a DNA vaccine in C57BL/6 mice and mapped the T cell epitopes with peptide scanning. We demonstrated that rMPT83 was recognised by strong proliferative and Interferon (IFN)-γ-secreting T cell responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients with active TB, but not from healthy, tuberculin skin test-negative control subjects. MPT83 also stimulated strong IFN-γ T cell responses during experimental murine M. tuberculosis infection. Immunization with either rMPT83 in MPLA/DDA or DNA-MPT83 stimulated antigen-specific T cell responses, and we identified MPT83127–135 (PTNAAFDKL) as the dominant H-2b-restricted CD8+ T cell epitope within MPT83. Further, immunization of C57BL/6 mice with rMPT83/MPLA/DDA or DNA-MPT83 stimulated significant levels of protection in the lungs and spleens against aerosol challenge with M. tuberculosis. Interestingly, immunization with rMPT83 in MPLA/DDA primed for stronger IFN-γ T cell responses to the whole protein following challenge, while DNA-MPT83 primed for stronger CD8+ T cell responses to MPT83127–135. Therefore MPT83 is a protective T cell antigen commonly recognized during human M. tuberculosis infection and should be considered for inclusion in future TB subunit vaccines.
The variable efficacy (0–80%) of Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette Guréin (BCG) vaccine against adult tuberculosis (TB) necessitates development of alternative vaccine candidates. Development of recombinant BCG (rBCG) over-expressing promising immunodominant antigens of M. tuberculosis represents one of the potential approaches for the development of vaccines against TB.
A recombinant strain of BCG - rBCG85C, over expressing the antigen 85C, a secretory immuno-dominant protein of M. tuberculosis, was evaluated for its protective efficacy in guinea pigs against M. tuberculosis challenge by aerosol route. Immunization with rBCG85C resulted in a substantial reduction in the lung (1.87 log10, p<0.01) and spleen (2.36 log10, p<0.001) bacillary load with a commensurate reduction in pathological damage, when compared to the animals immunized with the parent BCG strain at 10 weeks post-infection. rBCG85C continued to provide superior protection over BCG even when post-challenge period was prolonged to 16 weeks. The cytokine profile of pulmonary granulomas revealed that the superior protection imparted by rBCG85C was associated with the reduced levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines - interleukin (IL)-12, interferon (IFN)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, moderate levels of anti-inflammatory cytokine - transforming growth factor (TGF)-β along with up-regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In addition, the rBCG85C vaccine induced modulation of the cytokine levels was found to be associated with reduced fibrosis and antigen load accompanied by the restoration of normal lung architecture.
These results clearly indicate the superiority of rBCG85C over BCG as a promising prophylactic vaccine against TB. The enduring protection observed in this study gives enough reason to postulate that if an open-ended study is carried out with low dose of infection, rBCG85C vaccine in all likelihood would show enhanced survival of guinea pigs.
Tuberculosis (TB) disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) remains one of the leading infectious causes of death and disease throughout the world. The only licensed vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette–Guérin (BCG) confers highly variable protection against pulmonary disease. An effective vaccination regimen would be the most efficient way to control the epidemic. However, BCG does confer consistent and reliable protection against disseminated disease in childhood, and most TB vaccine strategies being developed incorporate BCG to retain this protection. Cellular immunity is necessary for protection against TB and all the new vaccines in development are focused on inducing a strong and durable cellular immune response. There are two main strategies being pursued in TB vaccine development. The first is to replace BCG with an improved whole organism mycobacterial priming vaccine, which is either a recombinant BCG or an attenuated strain of M. tb. The second is to develop a subunit boosting vaccine, which is designed to be administered after BCG vaccination, and to enhance the protective efficacy of BCG. This article reviews the leading candidate vaccines in development and considers the current challenges in the field with regard to efficacy testing.
tuberculosis; vaccine; bacille Calmette–Guérin; clinical trials; efficacy; immune correlates
A lipid-based formulation has been developed for oral delivery of Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine. The formulated M. bovis BCG was fed to BALB/c mice to test for immune responses and protection against M. bovis infection. The immune responses included antigen-specific cytokine responses, spleen cell proliferation, and lymphocyte-mediated macrophage inhibition of M. bovis. Oral delivery of formulated M. bovis BCG to mice induced strong splenic gamma interferon levels and macrophage inhibition of virulent M. bovis compared with results with nonformulated M. bovis BCG. Formulated oral M. bovis BCG significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the spleen and lungs of mice following aerosol challenge with virulent M. bovis. Our data suggest that oral delivery of formulated M. bovis BCG is an effective means of inducing protective immune responses against tuberculosis. Lipid-based, orally delivered mycobacterial vaccines may be a safe and practical method of controlling tuberculosis in humans and animals.
Tuberculosis is responsible for >2 million deaths a year, and the number of new cases is rising worldwide. DNA vaccination combined with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) represents a potential strategy for prevention of this disease. Here, we used a heterologous prime-boost immunization approach using a combination of DNA plasmids and BCG in order to improve the efficacy of vaccination against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in mice. As model antigens, we selected the M. tuberculosis Apa (for alanine-proline-rich antigen) and the immunodominant Hsp65 and Hsp70 mycobacterial antigens combined with BCG. We demonstrated that animals injected with a combination of DNA vectors expressing these antigens, when boosted with BCG, showed increased specific antimycobacterial immune responses compared to animals vaccinated with BCG alone. More importantly, the protection achieved with this regimen was also significantly better than with BCG alone.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major worldwide health problem. The only vaccine against TB, Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), has demonstrated relatively low efficacy and does not provide satisfactory protection against the disease. More efficient vaccines and improved therapies are urgently needed to decrease the worldwide spread and burden of TB, and use of a viable, metabolizing mycobacteria vaccine may be a promising strategy against the disease. Here, we constructed a recombinant Mycobacterium smegmatis (rMS) strain expressing a fusion protein of heparin-binding hemagglutinin (HBHA) and human interleukin 12 (hIL-12). Immune responses induced by the rMS in mice and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) were investigated. Administration of this novel rMS enhanced Th1-type cellular responses (IFN-γ and IL-2) in mice and reduced bacterial burden in lungs as well as that achieved by BCG vaccination. Meanwhile, the bacteria load in M. tuberculosis infected mice treated with the rMS vaccine also was significantly reduced. In conclusion, the rMS strain expressing the HBHA and human IL-12 fusion protein enhanced immunogencity by improving the Th1-type response against TB, and the protective effect was equivalent to that of the conventional BCG vaccine in mice. Furthermore, it could decrease bacterial load and alleviate histopathological damage in lungs of M. tuberculosis infected mice.
Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), is a disease with world wide consequences, affecting nearly a third of the world’s population. The established vaccine for TB, an attenuated strain of Mycobacterium bovis Calmette Guerin (BCG), has existed since 1921. Lactoferrin, an iron binding protein found in mucosal secretions and granules of neutrophils was hypothesized to be an ideal adjuvant to enhance the efficacy of the BCG vaccine, specifically because of previous reports of lactoferrin enhancement of IL-12 production from macrophages infected with BCG. Different vaccination protocols were investigated for generation of host protective responses against MTB infection using lactoferrin admixed to the BCG vaccine. Resulting effects demonstrate that BCG/lactoferrin increased host protection against MTB infection by decreasing organ bacterial load and reducing lung histopathology; significant reduction in tissue CFUs and pathology were observed post challenge compared to those seen with BCG alone. Addition of lactoferrin to the vaccine led to reduced pathological damage upon subsequent infection with virulent MTB, with positive results demonstrated when admixed in oil-based vehicle (incomplete Freund’s adjuvant; IFA) or when given with BCG in saline. The observed post-challenge results paralleled increasing production of IFN-γ and IL-6, but only limited changes to proinflammatory mediators TNF-α or IL-1β from BCG stimulated splenocytes. Overall, these studies indicate that lactoferrin is a useful and effective adjuvant to improve efficacy of the BCG vaccine, with potential to reduce related tissue damage and pulmonary histopathology.
Lactoferrin; BCG; tuberculosis; vaccine adjuvant; immunization
Tuberculosis caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis is responsible for nearly two million deaths every year globally. A single licensed vaccine derived from Mycobacterium bovis, bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) administered perinatally as a prophylactic vaccine has been in use for over 80 years and confers substantial protection against childhood tuberculous meningitis and miliary tuberculosis. However, the BCG vaccine is virtually ineffective against the adult pulmonary form of tuberculosis that is pivotal in the transmission of tuberculosis that has infected almost 33% of the global population. Thus, an effective vaccine to both prevent tuberculosis and reduce its transmission is urgently needed. We have generated a multi-valent, vectored vaccine candidate utilizing the modified virus Ankara (MVA) strain of vaccinia virus to tandemly express five antigens, ESAT6, Ag85A, Ag85B, HSP65 and Mtb39A of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that have been reported to be protective individually in certain animal models together with an immunostimulatory cytokine interleukin 15 (MVA/IL-15/5Mtb). Although, immunological correlates of protection against tuberculosis in humans remain to be established, we demonstrate that our vaccine induced comparable CD4+ T cell and greater CD8+ T cell and antibody responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vaccinated mice in a direct comparison with the BCG vaccine and conferred protection against an aerogenic challenge of M. tuberculosis, thus warranting its further preclinical development.
Tuberculosis; vaccine; IL-15
To improve the current vaccine against tuberculosis, a recombinant strain of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (rBCG) expressing a Mycobacterium tuberculosis vaccine candidate antigen (MPT64) in strong association with the mycobacterial cell wall was developed. To deliver the candidate antigen on the surface, we fused the mpt64 gene to the sequence encoding the PE domain of the PE_PGRS33 protein of M. tuberculosis (to create strain HPE-ΔMPT64-BCG), which we have previously shown to transport proteins to the bacterial surface. In a series of protection experiments in the mouse model of tuberculosis, we showed that (i) immunization of mice with HPE-ΔMPT64-BCG provides levels of protection significantly higher than those afforded by the parental BCG strain, as assessed by bacterial colonization in lungs and spleens and by lung involvement (at both 28 and 70 days postchallenge), (ii) rBCG strains expressing MPT64 provide better protection than the parental BCG strain only when this antigen is surface expressed, and (iii) the HPE-ΔMPT64-BCG-induced MPT64-specific T cell repertoire when characterized by β chain variable region-β chain joining region (BV-BJ) spectratyping indicates that protection is correlated with the ability to recruit gamma interferon (IFN-γ)-secreting T cells carrying the BV8.3-BJ1.5 (172 bp) shared rearrangement. These results demonstrate that HPE-ΔMPT64-BCG is one of the most effective new vaccines tested so far in the mouse model of tuberculosis and underscore the impact of antigen cellular localization on the induction of the specific immune response induced by rBCG.
(See the editorial commentary by Dockrell, on pages 1029–31.)
Background. There is currently no safe human challenge model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection to enable proof-of-concept efficacy evaluation of candidate vaccines against tuberculosis. In vivo antimycobacterial immunity could be assessed using intradermal Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination as a surrogate for M. tuberculosis infection.
Methods. Healthy BCG-naive and BCG-vaccinated volunteers were challenged with intradermal BCG. BCG load was quantified from skin biopsy specimens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and culture colony-forming units. Cellular infiltrate was isolated by suction blisters and examined by flow cytometry. Prechallenge immune readouts were correlated with BCG load after challenge.
Results. In BCG-naive volunteers, live BCG was detected at the challenge site for up to 4 weeks and peaked at 2 weeks. Infiltration of mainly CD15+ neutrophils was observed in blister fluid. In previously BCG-vaccinated individuals, PCR analysis of skin biopsy specimens reflected a degree of mycobacterial immunity. There was no significant correlation between BCG load after challenge and mycobacterial-specific memory T cells measured before challenge by cultured enzyme-linked immunospot assay.
Conclusions. This novel experimental human challenge model provides a platform for the identification of correlates of antimycobacterial immunity and will greatly facilitate the rational down-selection of candidate tuberculosis vaccines. Further evaluation of this model with BCG and new vaccine candidates is warranted.
Efficient control of tuberculosis (TB) requires development of strategies that can enhance efficacy of the existing vaccine Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG). To date only a few studies have explored the potential of latency-associated antigens to augment the immunogenicity of BCG.
We evaluated the protective efficacy of a heterologous prime boost approach based on recombinant BCG and DNA vaccines targeting α-crystallin, a prominent latency antigen. We show that “rBCG prime - DNA boost” strategy (R/D) confers a markedly superior protection along with reduced pathology in comparison to BCG vaccination in guinea pigs (565 fold and 45 fold reduced CFU in lungs and spleen, respectively, in comparison to BCG vaccination). In addition, R/D regimen also confers enhanced protection in mice. Our results in guinea pig model show a distinct association of enhanced protection with an increased level of interleukin (IL)12 and a simultaneous increase in immuno-regulatory cytokines such as transforming growth factor (TGF)β and IL10 in lungs. The T cell effector functions, which could not be measured in guinea pigs due to technical limitations, were characterized in mice by multi-parameter flow cytometry. We show that R/D regimen elicits a heightened multi-functional CD4 Th1 cell response leading to enhanced protection.
These results clearly indicate the superiority of α-crystallin based R/D regimen over BCG. Our observations from guinea pig studies indicate a crucial role of IL12, IL10 and TGFβ in vaccine-induced protection. Further, characterization of T cell responses in mice demonstrates that protection against TB is predictable by the frequency of CD4 T cells simultaneously producing interferon (IFN)γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and IL2. We anticipate that this study will not only contribute toward the development of a superior alternative to BCG, but will also stimulate designing of TB vaccines based on latency antigens.
Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains a major global health problem, despite the widespread use of the M. bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine and the availability of drug therapies. In recent years, the high incidence of coinfection of M. tuberculosis and HIV, as well as escalating problems associated with drug resistance, has raised ominous concerns with regard to TB control. Vaccination with BCG has not proven highly effective in controlling TB, and also has been associated with increasing concerns about the potential for the vaccine to cause disseminated mycobacterial infection in HIV infected hosts. Thus, the development of an efficacious and safe TB vaccine is generally viewed as a critical to achieving control of the ongoing global TB pandemic. In the current study, we have analyzed the vaccine efficacy of an attenuated M. tuberculosis strain that combines a mutation that enhances T cell priming (ΔsecA2) with a strongly attenuating lysine auxotrophy mutation (ΔlysA). The ΔsecA2 mutant was previously shown to be defective in the inhibition of apoptosis and markedly increased priming of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells in vivo. Similarly, the ΔsecA2ΔlysA strain retained enhanced apoptosis and augmented CD8+ T cell stimulatory effects, but with a noticeably improved safety profile in immunosuppressed mice. Thus, the M. tuberculosis ΔsecA2ΔlysA mutant represents a live attenuated TB vaccine strain with the potential to deliver increased protection and safety compared to standard BCG vaccination.
Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the only available vaccine for tuberculosis (TB). Although this vaccine is effective in controlling infantile TB, BCG-induced protective effects against pulmonary diseases in adults have not been clearly demonstrated. Recombinant BCG (rBCG) technology has been extensively applied to obtain more potent immunogenicity of this vaccine, and several candidate TB vaccines have currently reached human clinical trials. On the other hand, recent progress in the improvement of the BCG vector, such as the codon optimization strategy and combination with viral vector boost, allows us to utilize this bacterium in HIV vaccine development. In this paper, we review recent progress in rBCG-based vaccine studies that may have implications in the development of novel vaccines for controlling global infectious diseases in the near future.
Information from comparative proteome analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) principally allows prediction of potential vaccine candidates. Thirty-six M. tuberculosis DNA vaccine candidates identified by comparative proteome analysis were evaluated in the mouse model for protection against low-dose aerosol M. tuberculosis infection. We identified the DNA vaccine candidate Rv3407 as a protective antigen and analyzed putative major histocompatibility complex class I epitopes by computational predictions and gamma interferon Elispot assays. Importantly, we discovered that the DNA vaccine Rv3407 improved the efficacy of BCG vaccination in a heterologous prime-boost vaccination protocol. Our data demonstrate the rationale of a combination of proteomics, epitope prediction, and broad screening of putative antigens for identification of novel DNA vaccine candidates. Furthermore, our experiments show that heterologous prime-boost vaccination with a defined antigen boost “on top” of a BCG primer provides superior protection against tuberculosis over vaccination with BCG alone.
Cattle may provide a suitable model for testing ways of improving tuberculosis vaccine efficacy in human infants. A vaccination and challenge study was undertaken in calves to determine the optimal time to vaccinate neonatal animals with Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) for protection against tuberculosis and to determine whether revaccination with BCG was beneficial. Calves (10 per group) were vaccinated with BCG within 8 h of birth or at 6 weeks of age, when immune responses to antigens of environmental mycobacteria were detectable, or vaccinated at birth and revaccinated at 6 weeks. A control group was not vaccinated. BCG vaccination at birth induced strong antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) responses and antigen-specific activation in CD4+, CD8+, and WC1+ γδ T-cell subsets from blood. The proportions of animals per group with macroscopic tuberculous lesions after challenge were 0/10 for BCG at birth, 1/9 for BCG at 6 weeks, 4/10 for the revaccinated group, and 10/10 for the nonvaccinated group. There was no significant difference in the levels of protection between groups vaccinated at birth or at 6 weeks, while animals vaccinated both at birth and at 6 weeks had significantly less protection than those vaccinated only at birth. The revaccinated calves that subsequently developed tuberculous lesions had significantly stronger IFN-γ and IL-2 responses to bovine purified protein derivative after the BCG booster than those in the same group that did not develop lesions. The results indicated that BCG vaccination at birth induced a high level of immunity and that the sensitization of very young animals to antigens of environmental mycobacteria by 6 weeks of age did not affect the effectiveness of BCG. However, BCG revaccination of these young animals was contraindicated.
Sequential immunization with mycobacterial antigen Ag85B-expressing DNA and Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) was more effective than BCG immunization in protecting against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Depletion of the CD8+ T cells in the immunized mice impaired protection in their spleens, indicating that this improved efficacy was partially mediated by CD8+ T cells.
Region of difference (RD1) genes are present in virulent Mycobacterium tuberculosis but not the vaccine strain M. bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). The deletion of RD1 from M. tuberculosis produces an attenuation strikingly like that of BCG, which suggests the use of RD1 mutant strains for improvement of the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine. We performed long-term murine infection with M. tuberculosis H37Rv:ΔRD1 and BCG. Mice infected with H37Rv:ΔRD1 gained less weight than did BCG-infected control mice, and, after >1 year, their lungs harbored many more bacteria and displayed significant levels of inflammation. This difference in virulence has important implications for the pursuit of strains lacking RD1 in the development of the TB vaccine.