Murabutide (MB) is a synthetic immunomodulator recognized by the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing protein 2 (NOD2) receptor on mammalian cells. MB has previously been approved for testing in multiple human clinical trials to determine its value as an antiviral therapeutic, and as an adjuvant for injected vaccines. We have found a new use for this immunomodulator; it functions as a mucosal adjuvant that enhances immunogenicity of virus-like particles (VLP) administered intranasally. MB enhanced Norwalk virus (NV) VLP-specific IgG systemically and IgA production at distal mucosal sites following intranasal (IN) vaccination. A dose escalation study identified 100 µg as the optimal MB dosage in mice, based on the magnitude of VLP-specific IgG, IgG1, IgG2a and IgA production in serum and VLP-specific IgA production at distal mucosal sites. IN vaccination using VLP with MB was compared to IN delivery VLP with cholera toxin (CT) or gardiquimod (GARD) and to parenteral VLP delivery with alum; the MB groups were equivalent to CT and GARD and superior to alum in inducing mucosal immune responses and stimulated equivalent systemic VLP-specific antibodies. These data support the further testing of MB as a potent mucosal adjuvant for inducing robust and durable antibody responses to non-replicating subunit vaccines.
Streptococcus suis type 2 (SS2) is an important swine pathogen and zoonosis agent. A/J mice are significantly more susceptible than C57BL/6 (B6) mice to SS2 infection, but the genetic basis is largely unknown. Here, alterations in gene expression in SS2 (strain HA9801)-infected mice were identified using Illumina mouse BeadChips. Microarray analysis revealed 3,692 genes differentially expressed in peritoneal macrophages between A/J and B6 mice due to SS2 infection. Between SS2-infected A/J and control A/J mice, 2646 genes were differentially expressed (1469 upregulated; 1177 downregulated). Between SS2-infected B6 and control B6 mice, 1449 genes were differentially expressed (778 upregulated; 671 downregulated). These genes were analyzed for significant Gene Ontology (GO) categories and signaling pathways using the Kyoto Encylopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database to generate a signaling network. Upregulated genes in A/J and B6 mice were related to response to bacteria, immune response, positive regulation of B cell receptor signaling pathway, type I interferon biosynthesis, defense and inflammatory responses. Additionally, upregulated genes in SS2-infected B6 mice were involved in antigen processing and presentation of exogenous peptides, peptide antigen stabilization, lymphocyte differentiation regulation, positive regulation of monocyte differentiation, antigen receptor-mediated signaling pathway and positive regulation of phagocytosis. Downregulated genes in SS2-infected B6 mice played roles in glycolysis, carbohydrate metabolic process, amino acid metabolism, behavior and muscle regulation. Microarray results were verified by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) of 14 representative deregulated genes. Four genes differentially expressed between SS2-infected A/J and B6 mice, toll-like receptor 2 (Tlr2), tumor necrosis factor (Tnf), matrix metalloproteinase 9 (Mmp9) and pentraxin 3 (Ptx3), were previously implicated in the response to S. suis infection. This study identified candidate genes that may influence susceptibility or resistance to SS2 infection in A/J and B6 mice, providing further validation of these models and contributing to understanding of S. suis pathogenic mechanisms.
The adhesin pertactin (Prn) is one of the major virulence factors of Bordetella pertussis, the etiological agent of whooping cough. However, a significant prevalence of Prn-deficient (Prn−) B. pertussis was observed in Japan. The Prn− isolate was first discovered in 1997, and 33 (27%) Prn− isolates were identified among 121 B. pertussis isolates collected from 1990 to 2009. Sequence analysis revealed that all the Prn− isolates harbor exclusively the vaccine-type prn1 allele and that loss of Prn expression is caused by 2 different mutations: an 84-bp deletion of the prn signal sequence (prn1ΔSS, n = 24) and an IS481 insertion in prn1 (prn1::IS481, n = 9). The frequency of Prn− isolates, notably those harboring prn1ΔSS, significantly increased since the early 2000s, and Prn− isolates were subsequently found nationwide. Multilocus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) revealed that 24 (73%) of 33 Prn− isolates belong to MLVA-186, and 6 and 3 Prn− isolates belong to MLVA-194 and MLVA-226, respectively. The 3 MLVA types are phylogenetically closely related, suggesting that the 2 Prn− clinical strains (harboring prn1ΔSS and prn1::IS481) have clonally expanded in Japan. Growth competition assays in vitro also demonstrated that Prn− isolates have a higher growth potential than the Prn+ back-mutants from which they were derived. Our observations suggested that human host factors (genetic factors and immune status) that select for Prn− strains have arisen and that Prn expression is not essential for fitness under these conditions.
The Streptococcus pneumoniae pilus-1 is encoded by pilus islet 1 (PI-1), which has three clonal variants (clade I, II and III) and is present in about 30% of clinical pneumococcal isolates. In vitro and in vivo assays have demonstrated that pilus-1 is involved in attachment to epithelial cells and virulence, as well as protection in mouse models of infection. Several reports suggest that pilus-1 expression is tightly regulated and involves the interplay of numerous genetic regulators, including the PI-1 positive regulator RlrA. In this report we provide evidence that pilus expression, when analyzed at the single-cell level in PI-1 positive strains, is biphasic. In fact, the strains present two phenotypically different sub-populations of bacteria, one that expresses the pilus, while the other does not. The proportions of these two phenotypes are variable among the strains tested and are not influenced by genotype, serotype, growth conditions, colony morphology or by the presence of antibodies directed toward the pilus components. Two sub-populations, enriched in pilus expressing or not expressing bacteria were obtained by means of colony selection and immuno-detection methods for five strains. PI-1 sequencing in the two sub-populations revealed the absence of mutations, thus indicating that the biphasic expression observed is not due to a genetic modification within PI-1. Microarray expression profile and western blot analyses on whole bacterial lysates performed comparing the two enriched sub-populations, revealed that pilus expression is regulated at the transcriptional level (on/off regulation), and that there are no other genes, in addition to those encoded by PI-1, concurrently regulated across the strains tested. Finally, we provide evidence that the over-expression of the RrlA positive regulator is sufficient to induce pilus expression in pilus-1 negative bacteria. Overall, the data presented here suggest that the observed biphasic pilus expression phenotype could be an example of bistability in pneumococcus.
We used mouse models of pneumococcal colonization and disease combined with full genome sequencing to characterize three major drug resistant clones of S. pneumoniae that were recovered from the nasopharynx of PCV7-immunized children in Portugal. The three clones – serotype 6A (ST2191), serotype 15A (ST63) and serotype 19A (ST276) carried some of the same drug resistance determinants already identified in nasopharyngeal isolates from the pre-PCV7 era. The three clones were able to colonize efficiently the mouse nasopharyngeal mucosa where populations of these pneumococci were retained for as long as 21 days. During this period, the three clones were able to asymptomatically invade the olfactory bulbs, brain, lungs and the middle ear mucosa and established populations in these tissues. The virulence potential of the three clones was poor even at high inoculum (105 CFU per mouse) concentrations in the mouse septicemia model and was undetectable in the pneumonia model. Capsular type 3 transformants of clones 6A and 19A prepared in the laboratory produced lethal infection at low cell concentration (103 CFU per mouse) but the same transformants became impaired in their potential to colonize, indicating the importance of the capsular polysaccharide in both disease and colonization. The three clones were compared to the genomes of 56 S. pneumoniae strains for which sequence information was available in the public databank. Clone 15A (ST63) only differed from the serotype 19F clone G54 in a very few genes including serotype so that this clone may be considered the product of a capsular switch. While no strain with comparable degree of similarity to clone 19A (ST276) was found among the sequenced isolates, by MLST this clone is a single locust variant (SLV) of Denmark14-ST230 international clone. Clone 6A (ST2191) was most similar to the penicillin resistant Hungarian serotype 19A clone.
NhhA (Neisseria hia homologue) is an outer membrane protein from Neisseria meningitidis, the causative agent of meningococcal disease. The protein is surface exposed and its expression in a wide range of meningococcal strains suggests it is a promising vaccine candidate. In addition, immunization of mice with outer membrane vesicles of strains that overexpress NhhA in conjunction with one of TbpA, Omp85 or NspA results in synergistic bactericidal responses. We previously showed that the NhhA sequence is highly conserved between strains, with the majority of the differences localized to four distinct variable regions located in the amino-terminal region of the mature protein. In this study, N. meningitidis strains were constructed that over-express wild-type NhhA. Strains expressing truncated versions of NhhA, with deletions from the amino-terminal region that removed the most variable regions, were also made. These expression strains were also modified so that immunodominant, phase- and antigenically-variable outer membrane proteins were not expressed, truncated lipooligosaccharide (LOS) expression was genetically fixed (no phase variability), and capsular polysaccharide expression abolished. Outer membrane vesicles derived from these strains were used to immunize mice. As previously observed, a synergistic effect involving another antigen, TbpA, was required to demonstrate bactericidal activity. The highest bactericidal response against a heterologous strain was obtained with a truncated variant of NhhA. These results indicate that removal of (a) variable region(s) does not reduce bactericidal responses against NhhA, and that bactericidal targets exist in regions other than the variable N-teminus. This provides the basis for future examination of responses against truncated NhhA in protecting against heterologous NhhA strains, and further evaluation of truncated NhhA as a candidate for inclusion in a vaccine against all serogroups of N. meningitidis.
Seasonal and pandemic influenza remains a constant threat. While standard influenza vaccines have great utility, the need for improved vaccine technologies have been brought to light by the 2009 swine flu pandemic, highly pathogenic avian influenza infections, and the most recent early and widespread influenza activity. Species C adenoviruses based on serotype 5 (AD5) are potent vehicles for gene-based vaccination. While potent, most humans are already immune to this virus. In this study, low seroprevalent species D adenoviruses Ad26, 28, and 48 were cloned and modified to express the influenza virus A/PR/8/34 hemagglutinin gene for vaccine studies. When studied in vivo, these species D Ad vectors performed quite differently as compared to species C Ad vectors depending on the route of immunization. By intramuscular injection, species D vaccines were markedly weaker than species C vaccines. In contrast, the species D vaccines were equally efficient as species C when delivered mucosally by the intranasal route. Intranasal adenovirus vaccine doses as low as 108 virus particles per mouse induced complete protection against a stringent lethal challenge dose of influenza. These data support translation of species D adenoviruses as mucosal vaccines and highlight the fundamental effects of differences in virus tropism on vaccine applications.
Annual outbreaks of influenza infections, caused by new influenza virus subtypes and high incidences of zoonosis, make seasonal influenza one of the most unpredictable and serious health threats worldwide. Currently available vaccines, though the main prevention strategy, can neither efficiently be adapted to new circulating virus subtypes nor provide high amounts to meet the global demand fast enough. New influenza vaccines quickly adapted to current virus strains are needed. In the present study we investigated the local toxicity and capacity of a new inhalable influenza vaccine to induce an antigen-specific recall response at the site of virus entry in human precision-cut lung slices (PCLS). This new vaccine combines recombinant H1N1 influenza hemagglutinin (HAC1), produced in tobacco plants, and a silica nanoparticle (NP)-based drug delivery system. We found no local cellular toxicity of the vaccine within applicable concentrations. However higher concentrations of NP (≥103 µg/ml) dose-dependently decreased viability of human PCLS. Furthermore NP, not the protein, provoked a dose-dependent induction of TNF-α and IL-1β, indicating adjuvant properties of silica. In contrast, we found an antigen-specific induction of the T cell proliferation and differentiation cytokine, IL-2, compared to baseline level (152±49 pg/mg vs. 22±5 pg/mg), which could not be seen for the NP alone. Additionally, treatment with 10 µg/ml HAC1 caused a 6-times higher secretion of IFN-γ compared to baseline (602±307 pg/mg vs. 97±51 pg/mg). This antigen-induced IFN-γ secretion was further boosted by the adjuvant effect of silica NP for the formulated vaccine to a 12-fold increase (97±51 pg/mg vs. 1226±535 pg/mg). Thus we were able to show that the plant-produced vaccine induced an adequate innate immune response and re-activated an established antigen-specific T cell response within a non-toxic range in human PCLS at the site of virus entry.
The discovery of novel mucosal adjuvants will help to develop new formulations to
control infectious and allergic diseases. In this work we demonstrate that
U-Omp16 from Brucella spp. delivered by the nasal
route (i.n.) induced an inflammatory immune response in bronchoalveolar lavage
(BAL) and lung tissues. Nasal co-administration of U-Omp16 with the model
antigen (Ag) ovalbumin (OVA) increased the amount of Ag in lung tissues and
induced OVA-specific systemic IgG and T helper (Th) 1 immune responses. The
usefulness of U-Omp16 was also assessed in a mouse model of food allergy.
U-Omp16 i.n. administration during sensitization ameliorated the
hypersensitivity responses of sensitized mice upon oral exposure to Cow’s Milk
Protein (CMP), decreased clinical signs, reduced anti-CMP IgE serum antibodies
and modulated the Th2 response in favor of Th1 immunity. Thus, U-Omp16 could be
used as a broad Th1 mucosal adjuvant for different Ag formulations.
Exported proteins of Streptococcus agalactiae (GBS), which include proteins localized to the bacterial surface or secreted into the extracellular environment, are key players for commensal and pathogenic interactions in the mammalian host. These proteins are transported across the cytoplasmic membrane via the general SecA secretory pathway and those containing the so-called LPXTG sorting motif are covalently attached to the peptidoglycan by sortase A. How SecA, sortase A, and LPXTG proteins are spatially distributed in GBS is not known. In the close relative Streptococcus pyogenes, it was shown that presence of the YSIRKG/S motif (literally YSIRKX3Gx2S) in the signal peptide (SP) constitutes the targeting information for secretion at the septum. Here, using conventional and deconvolution immunofluorescence analyses, we have studied in GBS strain NEM316 the localization of SecA, SrtA, and the secreted protein Bsp whose signal peptide contains a canonical YSIRKG/S motif (YSLRKykfGlaS). Replacing the SP of Bsp with four other SPs containing or not the YSIRKG/S motif did not alter the localized secretion of Bsp at the equatorial ring. Our results indicate that secretion and cell wall-anchoring machineries are localized at the division septum. Cell wall- anchored proteins displayed polar (PilB, Gbs0791), punctuate (CspA) or uniform distribution (Alp2) on the bacterial surface. De novo secretion of Gbs0791 following trypsin treatment indicates that it is secreted at the septum, then redistributed along the lateral sides, and finally accumulated to the poles. We conclude that the ±YSIRK SP rule driving compartimentalized secretion is not true in S. agalactiae.
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes invasive infections, primarily at the extremes of life. A seven-valent conjugate vaccine (PCV7) is used to protect against invasive pneumococcal disease in children. Within three years of PCV7 introduction, we observed a fourfold increase in serotype 6C carriage, predominantly due to a single clone. We determined the whole-genome sequences of nineteen S. pneumoniae serotype 6C isolates, from both carriage (n = 15) and disease (n = 4) states, to investigate the emergence of serotype 6C in our population, focusing on a single multi-locus sequence type (MLST) clonal complex 395 (CC395). A phylogenetic network was constructed to identify different lineages, followed by analysis of variability in gene sets and sequences. Serotype 6C isolates from this single geographical site fell into four broad phylogenetically distinct lineages. Variation was seen in the 6C capsular locus and in sequences of genes encoding surface proteins. The largest clonal complex was characterised by the presence of lantibiotic synthesis locus. In our population, the 6C capsular locus has been introduced into multiple lineages by independent capsular switching events. However, rapid clonal expansion has occurred within a single MLST clonal complex. Worryingly, plasticity exists within current and potential vaccine-associated loci, a consideration for future vaccine use, target selection and design.
There is currently an urgent need to develop safe and effective adjuvants for enhancing vaccine-induced antigen-specific immune responses. We demonstrate here that intranasal immunization with clinically used polypeptide antibiotics, polymyxin B (PMB) and colistin (CL), along with ovalbumin (OVA), increases OVA-specific humoral immune responses in a dose-dependently manner at both mucosal and systemic compartments. Enhanced immunity by boosting was found to persist during 8 months of observation. Moreover, mice intranasally immunized with OVA plus various doses of PMB or CL showed neither inflammatory responses in the nasal cavity and olfactory bulbs nor renal damages, compared to those given OVA alone. These data suggest that polymyxins may serve as novel and safe mucosal adjuvants to induce humoral immune responses. The polymyxin adjuvanticity was found to be independent of endotoxins liberated by its bactericidal activity, as indicated by similar enhancing effects of PMB in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-hyporesponsive and LPS-susceptible mice. However, despite the presence of preexisting anti-PMB antibodies, we observed no reduction in the adjuvant function of polymyxins when they were given intranasally. Furthermore, the titers of OVA-specific Abs in mice intranasally immunized with OVA plus PMB or CL were significantly higher than those in mice administered with polymyxin analogues, such as polymyxin B nonapeptide and colistin methanesulfonate. The levels of released β-hexosaminidase and histamine in mast cell culture supernatants stimulated by PMB or CL were also significantly higher than those stimulated by their analogues. These results suggest that both the hydrophobic carbon chain and hydrophilic cationic cyclic peptide contribute to the mucosal adjuvanticity of PMB and CL.
The initial event in disease caused by S. pneumoniae is adhesion of the bacterium to respiratory epithelial cells, mediated by surface expressed molecules including cell-wall proteins. NADH oxidase (NOX), which reduces free oxygen to water in the cytoplasm, was identified in a non-lectin enriched pneumococcal cell-wall fraction. Recombinant NOX (rNOX) was screened with sera obtained longitudinally from children and demonstrated age-dependent immunogenicity. NOX ablation in S. pneumoniae significantly reduced bacterial adhesion to A549 epithelial cells in vitro and their virulence in the intranasal or intraperitoneal challenge models in mice, compared to the parental strain. Supplementation of Δnox WU2 with the nox gene restored its virulence. Saturation of A549 target cells with rNOX or neutralization of cell-wall residing NOX using anti-rNOX antiserum decreased adhesion to A549 cells. rNOX-binding phages inhibited bacterial adhesion. Moreover, peptides derived from the human proteins contactin 4, chondroitin 4 sulfotraferase and laminin5, homologous to the insert peptides in the neutralizing phages, inhibited bacterial adhesion to the A549 cells. Furthermore, rNOX immunization of mice elicited a protective immune response to intranasal or intraperitoneal S. pneumoniae challenge, whereas pneumococcal virulence was neutralized by anti-rNOX antiserum prior to intraperitoneal challenge. Our results suggest that in addition to its enzymatic activity, NOX contributes to S. pneumoniae virulence as a putative adhesin and thus peptides derived from its target molecules may be considered for the treatment of pneumococcal infections. Finally, rNOX elicited a protective immune response in both aerobic and anaerobic environments, which renders NOX a candidate for future pneumococcal vaccine.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen responsible for causing several human diseases including pneumonia, meningitis, and otitis media. Pneumococcus is also a major cause of human ocular infections and is commonly isolated in cases of bacterial keratitis, an infection of the cornea. The ocular pathology that occurs during pneumococcal keratitis is partly due to the actions of pneumolysin (Ply), a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin produced by pneumococcus. The lytic mechanism of Ply is a three step process beginning with surface binding to cholesterol. Multiple Ply monomers then oligomerize to form a prepore. The prepore then undergoes a conformational change that creates a large pore in the host cell membrane, resulting in cell lysis. We engineered a collection of single amino acid substitution mutants at residues (A370, A406, W433, and L460) that are crucial to the progression of the lytic mechanism and determined the effects that these mutations had on lytic function. Both PlyWT and the mutant Ply molecules (PlyA370G, PlyA370E, PlyA406G, PlyA406E, PlyW433G, PlyW433E, PlyW433F, PlyL460G, and PlyL460E) were able to bind to the surface of human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) with similar efficiency. Additionally, PlyWT localized to cholesterol-rich microdomains on the HCEC surface, however, only one mutant (PlyA370G) was able to duplicate this behavior. Four of the 9 mutant Ply molecules (PlyA370E, PlyW433G, PlyW433E, and PlyL460E) were deficient in oligomer formation. Lastly, all of the mutant Ply molecules, except PlyA370G, exhibited significantly impaired lytic activity on HCECs. The other 8 mutants all experienced a reduction in lytic activity, but 4 of the 8 retained the ability to oligomerize. A thorough understanding of the molecular interactions that occur between Ply and the target cell, could lead to targeted treatments aimed to reduce the pathology observed during pneumococcal keratitis.
We aimed to obtain insights on the nature of a collection of isolates presumptively identified as atypical Streptococcus pneumoniae recovered from invasive and non-invasive infections in Spain. One-hundred and thirty-two isolates were characterized by: optochin susceptibility in ambient and CO2-enriched atmosphere; bile solubility; PCR-based assays targeting pneumococcal genes lytA, ply, pspA, cpsA, Spn9802, aliB-like ORF2, and a specific 16S rRNA region; multilocus sequence analysis; and antimicrobial susceptibility. By multilocus sequence analysis, 61 isolates were S. pseudopneumoniae, 34 were pneumococci, 13 were S. mitis, and 24 remained unclassified as non-pneumococci. Among S. pseudopneumoniae isolates, 51 (83.6%) were collected from respiratory tract samples; eight isolates were obtained from sterile sources. High frequency of non-susceptibility to penicillin (60.7%) and erythromycin (42.6%) was found. Only 50.8% of the S. pseudopneumoniae isolates displayed the typical optochin phenotype originally described for this species. None harbored the cpsA gene or the pneumococcal typical lytA restriction fragment length polymorphism. The Spn9802 and the specific 16S rRNA regions were detected among the majority of the S. pseudopneumoniae isolates (n = 59 and n = 49, respectively). The ply and pspA genes were rarely found. A high genetic diversity was found and 59 profiles were identified. Among the S. pneumoniae, 23 were capsulated and 11 were non-typeable. Three non-typeable isolates, associated to international non-capsulated lineages, were recovered from invasive disease sources. In conclusion, half of the atypical pneumococcal clinical isolates were, in fact, S. pseudopneumoniae and one-fourth were other streptococci. We identified S. pseudopneumoniae and non-typeable pneumococci as cause of disease in Spain including invasive disease.
Serum antibody responses in humans to inactivated influenza A (H5N1), (H9N2) and A (H7) vaccines have been varied but frequently low, particularly for subunit vaccines without adjuvant despite hemagglutinin (HA) concentrations expected to induce good responses.
To help understand the low responses to subunit vaccines, we evaluated influenza A (H5N1), (H9N2), (H7N7) vaccines and 2009 pandemic (H1N1) vaccines for antigen uptake, processing and presentation by dendritic cells to T cells, conformation of vaccine HA in antibody binding assays and gel analyses, HA titers with different red blood cells, and vaccine morphology in electron micrographs (EM).
Antigen uptake, processing and presentation of H5, H7, H9 and H1 vaccine preparations evaluated in humans appeared normal. No differences were detected in antibody interactions with vaccine and matched virus; although H7 trimer was not detected in western blots, no abnormalities in the conformation of the HA antigens were identified. The lowest HA titers for the vaccines were <1∶4 for the H7 vaccine and 1∶661 for an H9 vaccine; these vaccines induced the fewest antibody responses. A (H1N1) vaccines were the most immunogenic in humans; intact virus and virus pieces were prominent in EM. A good immunogenic A (H9N2) vaccine contained primarily particles of viral membrane with external HA and NA. A (H5N1) vaccines intermediate in immunogenicity were mostly indistinct structural units with stellates; the least immunogenic A (H7N7) vaccine contained mostly small 5 to 20 nm structures.
Antigen uptake, processing and presentation to human T cells and conformation of the HA appeared normal for each inactivated influenza A vaccine. Low HA titer was associated with low immunogenicity and presence of particles or split virus pieces was associated with higher immunogenicity.
Concern for a pandemic caused by a newly emerged avian influenza A virus has led to clinical trials with candidate vaccines as preparation for such an event. Most trials have involved vaccines for influenza A (H5N1), A (H7N7) or A (H9N2).
To evaluate dosage-related safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated influenza A (H7N7) vaccine in humans.
One hundred twenty-five healthy young adults were randomized to receive two doses intramuscularly of placebo or 7.5, 15, 45 or 90 µg of HA of an inactivated subunit influenza A (H7N7) vaccine (25 per group), four weeks apart. Reactogenicity was evaluated closely for one week and for any adverse effect for six months after each dose. Serum hemagglutination-inhibiting and neutralizing antibody responses were determined four weeks after each dose and at six months.
Reactogenicity evaluations indicated the vaccinations were well tolerated. Only one subject developed a ≥4-fold serum hemagglutination-inhibition (HAI) antibody response and a final titer of ≥1∶40 four weeks after dose two and only five subjects developed a neutralizing antibody rise and a final titer of ≥1∶40 in tests performed at a central laboratory. Four of the five were given the 45 or 90 µg HA dosage. A more sensitive HAI assay at the study site revealed a dose-response with increasing HA dosage but only 36% in the 90 µg HA group developed a ≥4-fold rise in antibody in this test and only one of these achieved a titer of ≥1∶32.
This inactivated subunit influenza A (H7N7) vaccine was safe but poorly immunogenic in humans.
Vaccines based on live viruses are attractive because they are immunogenic, cost-effective, and can be delivered by multiple routes. However, live virus vaccines also cause reactogenic side effects such as fever, myalgia, and injection site pain that have reduced their acceptance in the clinic. Several recent studies have linked vaccine-induced reactogenic side effects to production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in humans. Our objective was therefore to determine whether IL-1β contributed to pathology after immunization with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vaccine vectors, and if so, to identify strategies by which IL-1β mediated pathology might be reduced without compromising immunogenicity. We found that an rVSV vaccine induced local and systemic production of IL-1β in vivo, and that accumulation of IL-1β correlated with acute pathology after rVSV immunization. rVSV-induced pathology was reduced in mice deficient in the IL-1 receptor Type I, but the IL-1R−/− mice were fully protected from lethal rechallenge with a high dose of VSV. This result demonstrated that IL-1 contributed to reactogenicity of the rVSV, but was dispensable for induction of protective immunity. The amount of IL-1β detected in mice deficient in either caspase-1 or the inflammasome adaptor molecule ASC after rVSV immunization was not significantly different than that produced by wild type animals, and caspase-1−/− and ASC−/− mice were only partially protected from rVSV-induced pathology. Those data support the idea that some of the IL-1β expressed in vivo in response to VSV may be activated by a caspase-1 and ASC-independent mechanism. Together these results suggest that rVSV vectors engineered to suppress the induction of IL-1β, or signaling through the IL-1R would be less reactogenic in vivo, but would retain their immunogenicity and protective capacity. Such rVSV would be highly desirable as either vaccine vectors or oncolytic therapies, and would likely be better tolerated in human vaccinees.
The ectodomain of the matrix 2 protein (M2e) of influenza A virus represents an attractive target for developing a universal influenza A vaccine, with its sequence being highly conserved amongst human variants of this virus. With the aim of targeting conformational epitopes presumably shared by diverse influenza A viruses, a vaccine (M2e-NSP4) was constructed linking M2e (in its consensus sequence) to the rotavirus fragment NSP498–135; due to its coiled-coil region this fragment is known to form tetramers in aqueous solution and in this manner we hoped to mimick the natural configuration of M2e as presented in membranes. M2e-NSP4 was then evaluated side-by-side with synthetic M2e peptide for its immunogenicity and protective efficacy in a murine influenza challenge model. Here we demonstrate that M2e fused to the tetramerizing protein induces an accelerated, augmented and more broadly reactive antibody response than does M2e peptide as measured in two different assays. Most importantly, vaccination with M2e-NSP4 caused a significant decrease in lung virus load early after challenge with influenza A virus and maintained its efficacy against a lethal challenge even at very low vaccine doses. Based on the results presented in this study M2e-NSP4 merits further investigation as a candidate for or as a component of a universal influenza A vaccine.
There is a strong need for a recombinant subunit vaccine against fowl cholera. We used a reverse vaccinology approach to identify putative secreted or cell surface associated P. multocida proteins that may represent potential vaccine candidate antigens.
A high-throughput cloning and expression protocol was used to express and purify 71 recombinant proteins for vaccine trials. Of the 71 proteins tested, only one, PlpE in denatured insoluble form, protected chickens against fowl cholera challenge. PlpE also elicited comparable levels of protection in mice. PlpE was localized by immunofluorescence to the bacterial cell surface, consistent with its ability to elicit a protective immune response. To explore the role of PlpE during infection and immunity, a plpE mutant was generated. The plpE mutant strain retained full virulence for mice.
These studies show that PlpE is a surface exposed protein and was the only protein of 71 tested that was able to elicit a protective immune response. However, PlpE is not an essential virulence factor. This is the first report of a denatured recombinant protein stimulating protection against fowl cholera.
Shifts in pneumococcal serotypes following introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV-7) may alter the presence of other bacterial pathogens co-inhabiting the same nasopharyngeal niche.
Nasopharyngeal prevalence rates of S. pneumoniae, S. aureus, H. influenzae and M. catarrhalis were investigated before, 3 and 4.5 years after introduction of PCV-7 in the national immunisation program in children at 11 and 24 months of age, and parents of 24-month-old children (n≈330/group) using conventional culture methods. Despite a virtual disappearance of PCV-7 serotypes over time, similar overall pneumococcal rates were observed in all age groups, except for a significant reduction in the 11-month-old group (adjusted Odds Ratio after 4.5 years 0.48, 95% Confidence Interval 0.34–0.67). Before, 3 and 4.5 years after PCV-7 implementation, prevalence rates of S. aureus were 5%, 9% and 14% at 11 months of age (3.59, 1.90–6.79) and 20%, 32% and 34% in parents (1.96, 1.36–2.83), but remained similar at 24 months of age, respectively. Prevalence rates of H. influenzae were 46%, 65% and 65% at 11 months (2.22, 1.58–3.13), 52%, 73% and 76% at 24 months of age (2.68, 1.88–3.82) and 23%, 30% and 40% in parents (2.26, 1.58–3.33), respectively. No consistent changes in M. catarrhalis carriage rates were observed over time.
In addition to large shifts in pneumococcal serotypes, persistently higher nasopharyngeal prevalence rates of S. aureus and H. influenzae were observed among young children and their parents after PCV-7 implementation. These findings may have implications for disease incidence and antibiotic treatment in the post-PCV era.
Pneumococcal infections cause major morbidity and mortality in developing countries. We report the epidemiology of S. pneumoniae carriage in a developing region, the Gaza strip, and evaluate the theoretical coverage of carriage strains by pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs).
In 2009 we conducted a cross-sectional survey of S. pneumoniae carriage in healthy children and their parents, living throughout the Gaza strip. Data were collected and nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained. Antibiotic susceptibilities were determined by Vitek-2 and serotypes by the Quellung reaction.
S. pneumoniae carriage was detected in 189/379 (50%) of children and 30/376 (8%) of parents. Carriage prevalence was highest in children <6 months of age (63%). Significant predictors for child carriage were number of household members and DCC attendance. The proportion of pediatric and adults isolates with serotypes included in PCV7 were 32% and 20% respectively, and 46% and 33% in PCV13 respectively. The most prominent non-vaccine serotypes (NVT) were 35B, 15B/C and 23B. Penicillin-nonsusceptible strains were carried by70% of carriers, penicillin-resistant strains (PRSP) by 13% and Multi-drug-resistant (MDR) by 30%. Of all PRSP isolates 54% belonged to serotypes included in PCV7 and 71% in the PCV13. Similarly, 59% and 73% of MDR-SP isolates, would theoretically be covered by PCV7 and PCV13, respectively.
This study demonstrates that, PCV13-included strains were carried by 46% and 33% of pediatric and adult subjects respectively. In the absence of definitive data regarding the virulence of the NVT strains, it is difficult to predict the effect of PCVs on IPD in this region.
The aerotolerant anaerobe Streptococcus pneumoniae is part of the normal nasopharyngeal microbiota of humans and one of the most important invasive pathogens. A genomic survey allowed establishing the occurrence of twenty-one phosphotransferase systems, seven carbohydrate uptake ABC transporters, one sodium∶solute symporter and a permease, underlining an exceptionally high capacity for uptake of carbohydrate substrates. Despite high genomic variability, combined phenotypic and genomic analysis of twenty sequenced strains did assign the substrate specificity only to two uptake systems. Systematic analysis of mutants for most carbohydrate transporters enabled us to assign a phenotype and substrate specificity to twenty-three transport systems. For five putative transporters for galactose, pentoses, ribonucleosides and sulphated glycans activity was inferred, but not experimentally confirmed and only one transport system remains with an unknown substrate and lack of any functional annotation. Using a metabolic approach, 80% of the thirty-two fermentable carbon substrates were assigned to the corresponding transporter. The complexity and robustness of sugar uptake is underlined by the finding that many transporters have multiple substrates, and many sugars are transported by more than one system. The present work permits to draw a functional map of the complete arsenal of carbohydrate utilisation proteins of pneumococci, allows re-annotation of genomic data and might serve as a reference for related species. These data provide tools for specific investigation of the roles of the different carbon substrates on pneumococcal physiology in the host during carriage and invasive infection.