Brucella abortus is recognized by several Toll-like receptor (TLR)-associated pathways triggering proinflammatory responses that affect both the nature and intensity of the immune response. Previously, we demonstrated that B. abortus-mediated dendritic cell (DC) maturation and control of infection are dependent on the adaptor molecule MyD88. However, the involvement of all TLRs in response to B. abortus infection is not completely understood. Therefore, we decided to evaluate the requirement for TLR6 in host resistance to B. abortus. Here, we demonstrated that TLR6 is an important component for triggering an innate immune response against B. abortus. An in vitro luciferase assay indicated that TLR6 cooperates with TLR2 to sense Brucella and further activates NF-κB signaling. However, in vivo analysis showed that TLR6, not TLR2, is required for the efficient control of B. abortus infection. Additionally, B. abortus-infected dendritic cells require TLR6 to induce tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-12 (IL-12). Furthermore, our findings demonstrated that the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway is impaired in TLR2, TLR6, and TLR2/6 knockout (KO) DCs when infected with B. abortus, which may account for the lower proinflammatory cytokine production observed in TLR6 KO mouse dendritic cells. In summary, the results presented here indicate that TLR6 is required to trigger innate immune responses against B. abortus
in vivo and is required for the full activation of DCs to induce robust proinflammatory cytokine production.
IL-10 is a cytokine that regulates the balance between pathogen clearance and immunopathology. Brucella abortus is an intracellular bacterium that causes chronic disease in humans and domestic animals. Here we evaluated the contribution of IL-10 in host immune response and pathology during B. abortus infection. To assess the role of IL-10 in vivo, IL-10 knockout (KO) or 129 Sv/Ev (wild-type) mice were infected with B. abortus and the number of viable bacteria from the spleen was determined at 1, 2, 3, 6 and 14-weeks postinfection. IL-10 KO mice showed reduced bacterial loads in the spleen when compared to wild-type mice during all time points studied. Additionally, at 14-weeks postinfection IL-10 KO mice had totally cleared the infection. This clearance was preceded by an enhanced IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-17 responses in both the serum and the spleen of IL-10 KO mice. Additionally, dendritic cells from infected IL-10 KO mice produced elevated levels of IL-12 and TNF-α compared to wild-type animals. Histopathology analysis was performed and both KO and wild-type mice developed multifocal granulomas and necrosis in the liver. However, at six-weeks postinfection reduced numbers of granulomas was detected in IL-10 KO mice compared to wild-type animals. This reduced liver pathology at later stage of infection was accompanied by increased numbers of CD4+CD25+foxp3+ T cells and expression of TGF-β in IL-10 KO splenocytes. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that IL-10 modulates the proinflammatory immune response to B. abortus infection and the lack of IL-10 increases resistance to Brucella infection.
Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain proteins (NODs) are modular cytoplasmic proteins implicated in the recognition of peptidoglycan-derived molecules. Further, several in vivo studies have demonstrated a role for Nod1 and Nod2 in host defense against bacterial pathogens. Here, we demonstrated that macrophages from NOD1-, NOD2-, and Rip2-deficient mice produced lower levels of TNF-α following infection with live Brucella abortus compared to wild-type mice. Similar reduction on cytokine synthesis was not observed for IL-12 and IL-6. However, NOD1, NOD2, and Rip2 knockout mice were no more susceptible to infection with virulent B. abortus than wild-type mice. Additionally, spleen cells from NOD1-, NOD2-, and Rip2-deficient mice showed unaltered production of IFN-γ compared to C57BL/6 mice. Taken together, this study demonstrates that NOD1, NOD2 and Rip2 are dispensable for the control of B. abortus during in vivo infection.
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.
The flatworm Schistosoma mansoni is a blood fluke parasite that causes schistosomiasis, a debilitating disease that occurs throughout the developing world. Current schistosomiasis control strategies are mainly based on chemotherapy, but many researchers believe that the best long-term strategy to control schistosomiasis is through immunization with an antischistosomiasis vaccine combined with drug treatment. In the search for potential vaccine candidates, numerous tegument antigens have been assessed. As the major interface between parasite and mammalian host, the tegument plays crucial roles in the establishment and further course of schistosomiasis. Herein, we evaluated the potential of a GPI fraction, containing representative molecules located on the outer surface of adult worms, as vaccine candidate. Immunization of mice with GPI-anchored proteins induced a mixed Th1/Th2 type of immune response with production of IFN-γ and TNF-α, and low levels of IL-5 into the supernatant of splenocyte cultures. The protection engendered by this vaccination protocol was confirmed by 42% reduction in worm burden, 45% reduction in eggs per gram of hepatic tissue, 29% reduction in the number of granulomas per area, and 53% reduction in the granuloma fibrosis. Taken together, the data herein support the potential of surface-exposed GPI-anchored antigens from the S. mansoni tegument as vaccine candidate.
Pathogenic intracellular bacteria can respond to antimicrobial mechanisms of the host cell through transient activation of stress-responsive genes by alternative sigma (σ) factors of the RNA polymerase. We evaluated the contribution of the extracytoplasmic function sigma factor σE for Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis resistance to stress conditions resembling those found intracellularly during infection. A sigE-null mutant strain (ΔsigE) of this bacterium was more susceptible in vitro to acidic pH, cell surface stressors, and biologically relevant concentrations of nitric oxide (NO). The same mutant strain was unable to persist in C57BL/6 mice but remained infective in mice lacking inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), confirming the significance of σE for resistance to nitric oxide/peroxide stress in vivo. High-throughput proteomic analysis identified NO-responsive extracellular proteins of C. pseudotuberculosis and demonstrated the participation of σE in composition of this bacterium’s exoproteome.
Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis; sigma factor; nitric oxide; inducible nitric oxide synthase
Innate immunity serves as the first line of defense against infectious agents such as intracellular bacteria. The innate immune platform includes Toll-like receptors (TLRs), retinoid acid-inducible gene-I-like receptors and other cytosolic nucleic acid sensors, nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain-like receptors, adaptors, kinases and other signaling molecules that are required to elicit effective responses against different pathogens. Our research group has been using the Gram-negative bacteria Brucella abortus as a model of pathogen. We have demonstrated that B. abortus triggers MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways in macrophages in a MyD88 and IRAK-4-dependent manner. Furthermore, we claimed that so far TLR9 is the most important single TLR during Brucella infection. The identification of host receptors that recognize pathogen-derived nucleic acids has revealed an essential role for nucleic acid sensing in the triggering of immunity to intracellular pathogens. Besides TLRs, herein we describe recent advances in NOD1, NOD2, and type I IFN receptors in innate immune pathways during B. abortus infection.
Brucella abortus; innate immunity; type I interferon; TLR signaling; NLR
Brucella abortus is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. IFN-γ, IL-12, and CD8+ T lymphocytes are important components of host immune responses against B. abortus. Herein, IFN-γ and IL-12/β2-microglobulin (β2-m) knockout mice were used to determine whether CD8+ T cells and IL-12-dependent IFN-γ deficiency would be more critical to control B. abortus infection compared to the lack of endogenous IFN-γ. At 1 week after infection, IFN-γ KO and IL-12/β2-m KO mice showed increased numbers of bacterial load in spleens; however, at 3 weeks postinfection (p.i.), only IFN-γ KO succumbed to Brucella. All IFN-γ KO had died at 16 days p.i. whereas death within the IL-12/β2-m KO group was delayed and occurred at 32 days until 47 days postinfection. Susceptibility of IL-12/β2-m KO animals to Brucella was associated to undetectable levels of IFN-γ in mouse splenocytes and inability of these cells to lyse Brucella-infected macrophages. However, the lack of endogenous IFN-γ was found to be more important to control brucellosis than CD8+ T cells and IL-12-dependent IFN-γ deficiencies.
The flatworm Schistosoma mansoni is a blood fluke parasite that causes schistosomiasis, a debilitating disease that occurs throughout the developing world. Current schistosomiasis control strategies are mainly based on chemotherapy, but many researchers believe that the best long-term strategy to control schistosomiasis is through immunization with an antischistosomiasis vaccine combined with drug treatment. Several papers on Schistosoma mansoni vaccine and drug development have been published in the past few years, representing an important field of study. The advent of technologies that allow large-scale studies of genes and proteins had a remarkable impact on the screening of new and potential vaccine candidates in schistosomiasis. In this postgenomic scenario, bioinformatic technologies have emerged as important tools to mine transcriptomic, genomic, and proteomic databases. These new perspectives are leading to a new round of rational vaccine development. Herein, we discuss different strategies to identify potential S. mansoni vaccine candidates using computational vaccinology.
Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a thermodimorphic human pathogenic fungus that causes paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), which is the most prevalent systemic mycosis in Latin America. Differentiation from the mycelial to the yeast form (M-to-Y) is an essential step for the establishment of PCM. We evaluated the involvement of mitochondria and intracellular oxidative stress in M-to-Y differentiation. M-to-Y transition was delayed by the inhibition of mitochondrial complexes III and IV or alternative oxidase (AOX) and was blocked by the association of AOX with complex III or IV inhibitors. The expression of P. brasiliensis aox (Pbaox) was developmentally regulated through M-to-Y differentiation, wherein the highest levels were achieved in the first 24 h and during the yeast exponential growth phase; Pbaox was upregulated by oxidative stress. Pbaox was cloned, and its heterologous expression conferred cyanide-resistant respiration in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli and reduced oxidative stress in S. cerevisiae cells. These results reinforce the role of PbAOX in intracellular redox balancing and demonstrate its involvement, as well as that of other components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes, in the early stages of the M-to-Y differentiation of P. brasiliensis.
Tuberculosis remains a major health problem throughout the world causing large number of deaths. Effective disease control and eradication programs require the identification of major antigens recognized by the protective responses against M. tuberculosis. In this study, we have investigated humoral and cellular immune responses to M. tuberculosis-specific Ag85A, Ag85B, and ESAT-6 antigens in Brazilian patients with pulmonary (P, n = 13) or extrapulmonary (EP, n = 12) tuberculosis, patients undergoing chemotherapy (PT, n = 23), and noninfected healthy individuals (NI, n = 7). Compared to NI, we observed increased levels of IgG1 responses to Ag85B and ESAT-6 in P and PT groups. Regarding cellular immunity, Ag85A and ESAT-6 were able to discriminate P, PT, and EP patients from healthy individuals by IFN-γ production and P and PT groups from EP individuals by production of TNF-α. In summary, these findings demonstrate the ability of Ag85A, Ag85B, and ESAT-6 to differentiate TB patients from controls by IgG1, IFN-γ and TNF-α production.
Brucella abortus is a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. The mechanism of virulence of Brucella spp. is not yet fully understood. Therefore, it is crucial to identify new molecules that can function as virulence factors to better understand the host-pathogen interplay. Herein, we identified the gene encoding the phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) of B. abortus strain 2308. To test the role of PGK in Brucella pathogenesis, a pgk deletion mutant was constructed. Replacement of the wild-type pgk by recombination was demonstrated by Southern and Western blot analyses. The B. abortus Δpgk mutant strain exhibited extreme attenuation in bone marrow-derived macrophages and in vivo in BALB/c, C57BL/6, 129/Sv, and interferon regulatory factor-1 knockout (IRF-1 KO) mice. Additionally, at 24 h postinfection the Δpgk mutant was not found within the same endoplasmic reticulum-derived compartment as the wild-type bacteria, but, instead, over 60% of Brucella-containing vacuoles (BCVs) retained the late endosomal/lysosomal marker LAMP1. Furthermore, the B. abortus Δpgk deletion mutant was used as a live vaccine. Challenge experiments revealed that the Δpgk mutant strain induced protective immunity in 129/Sv or IRF-1 KO mice that was superior to the protection conferred by commercial strain 19 or RB51. Finally, the results shown here demonstrated that Brucella PGK is critical for full bacterial virulence and that a Δpgk mutant may serve as a potential vaccine candidate in future studies.
In areas where schistosomiasis is endemic, a negative correlation is observed between atopy and helminth infection, associated with a low prevalence of asthma. We investigated whether Schistosoma mansoni infection or injection of parasite eggs can modulate airway allergic inflammation in mice, examining the mechanisms of such regulation. We infected BALB/c mice with 30 S. mansoni cercariae or intraperitoneally injected 2,500 schistosome eggs, and experimental asthma was induced by ovalbumin (OVA). The number of eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was higher in the asthmatic group than in asthmatic mice infected with S. mansoni or treated with parasite eggs. Reduced Th2 cytokine production, characterized by lower levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and immunoglobulin E, was observed in both S. mansoni-treated groups compared to the asthmatic group. There was a reduction in the number of inflammatory cells in lungs of S. mansoni-infected and egg-treated mice, demonstrating that both S. mansoni infection and the egg treatment modulated the lung inflammatory response to OVA. Only allergic animals that were treated with parasite eggs had increased numbers of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ T cells and increased levels of IL-10 and decreased production of CCL2, CCL3, and CCL5 in the lungs compared to the asthmatic group. Neutralization of IL-10 receptor or depletion of CD25+ T cells in vivo confirmed the critical role of CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in experimental asthma modulation independent of IL-10.
Recombinant proteins expressed in Escherichia coli vectors are generally contaminated with endotoxin. In this study, we evaluated the ability of Polymyxin B to neutralize the effect of LPS present as contaminant on Schistosoma mansoni recombinant proteins produced in E. coli in inducing TNF-α and IL-10. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from individuals chronically infected with S. mansoni were stimulated in vitro with recombinant Sm22.6, Sm14 and P24 antigens (10 μg/mL) in the presence of Polymyxin B (10 μg/mL).
The levels of cytokines were measured using ELISA. There was greater than 90 % reduction (p < 0.05) in the levels of TNF-α and IL-10 when Polymyxin B was added to the cultures stimulated with LPS. In cultures stimulated with S. mansoni recombinant proteins in the presence of Polymyxin B, a reduction in the levels of TNF-α and IL-10 was also observed. However, the percentage of reduction was lower when compared to the cultures stimulated with LPS, probably because these proteins are able to induce the production of these cytokines by themselves.
This study showed that Polymyxin B was able to neutralize the effect of endotoxin, as contaminant in S. mansoni recombinant antigens produced in E. coli, in inducing TNF-α and IL-10 production.
Bovine tuberculosis is a major cause of economic loss in countries where it is endemic, and in some countries, it may be a significant zoonotic disease problem. Therefore, new strategies for vaccine development are required, and among them, genetic immunization has potential value. The main goal of this study was to test the Mycobacterium bovis Ag85B gene as a DNA vaccine following challenge with an M. bovis virulent strain (ATCC 19274). Groups of BALB/c mice (n = 10) were immunized four times intramuscularly with the pCI-Ag85B construct or the pCI vector alone as the control. High titers of total immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgG1, and IgG2a anti-Ag85B were measured in pCI-Ag85B immunized mice when compared to the pCI control group. Regarding cellular immunity, significant levels of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) (1,100 ± 157 pg/ml) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (650 ± 42 pg/ml) but not interleukin-4 were detected in splenocyte culture supernatants of pCI-Ag85B-vaccinated mice following stimulation with recombinant Ag85B. Further, the main source of IFN-γ is CD8+ T cells, as demonstrated by intracellular cytokine staining. As far as protection, a significant reduction in bacterial load in spleens (P < 0.05) was detected in pCI-Ag85B-immunized mice compared to the pCI vector control group. The results obtained here suggest that use of the Ag85B DNA vaccine is a promising strategy to control M. bovis infection due to its ability to induce a Th1 type of immune response. However, protective efficacy needs to be improved, since partial protection was achieved in spleens but not in lungs of vaccinated mice.
Lactococcus lactis, the model lactic acid bacterium (LAB), is a food grade and well-characterized Gram positive bacterium. It is a good candidate for heterologous protein delivery in foodstuff or in the digestive tract. L. lactis can also be used as a protein producer in fermentor. Many heterologous proteins have already been produced in L. lactis but only few reports allow comparing production yields for a given protein either produced intracellularly or secreted in the medium. Here, we review several works evaluating the influence of the localization on the production yields of several heterologous proteins produced in L. lactis. The questions of size limits, conformation, and proteolysis are addressed and discussed with regard to protein yields. These data show that i) secretion is preferable to cytoplasmic production; ii) secretion enhancement (by signal peptide and propeptide optimization) results in increased production yield; iii) protein conformation rather than protein size can impair secretion and thus alter production yields; and iv) fusion of a stable protein can stabilize labile proteins. The role of intracellular proteolysis on heterologous cytoplasmic proteins and precursors is discussed. The new challenges now are the development of food grade systems and the identification and optimization of host factors affecting heterologous protein production not only in L. lactis, but also in other LAB species.
Initial host defense to bacterial infection is executed by innate immunity, and therefore the main goal of this study was to examine the contribution of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) during Brucella abortus infection. CHO reporter cell lines transfected with CD14 and TLRs showed that B. abortus triggers both TLR2 and TLR4. In contrast, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and lipid A derived from Brucella rough (R) and smooth (S) strains activate CHO cells only through TLR4. Consistently, macrophages from C3H/HePas mice exposed to R and S strains and their LPS produced higher levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-12 compared to C3H/HeJ, a TLR4 mutant mouse. The essential role of TLR4 for induction of proinflammatory cytokines was confirmed with diphosphoryl lipid A from Rhodobacter sphaeroides. Furthermore, to determine the contribution of TLR2 and TLR4 in bacterial clearance, numbers of Brucella were monitored in the spleen of C3H/HeJ, C3H/HePas, TLR2 knockout, and wild-type mice at 1, 3, and 6 weeks following B. abortus infection. Interestingly, murine brucellosis was markedly exacerbated at weeks 3 and 6 after infection in animals that lacked functional TLR4 (C3H/HeJ) compared to C3H/HePas that paralleled the reduced gamma interferon production by this mouse strain. Finally, by mass spectrometry analysis we found dramatic differences on the lipid A profiles of R and S strains. In fact, S lipid A was shown to be more active to trigger TLR4 than R lipid A in CHO cells and more effective in inducing dendritic cell maturation. In conclusion, these results indicate that TLR4 plays a role in resistance to B. abortus infection and that S lipid A has potent adjuvant activity.
Interleukin-12 (IL-12), a heterodimeric cytokine, plays an important role in cellular immunity to several bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections and has adjuvant activity when it is codelivered with DNA vaccines. IL-12 has also been used with success in cancer immunotherapy treatments. However, systemic IL-12 therapy has been limited by high levels of toxicity. We describe here inducible expression and secretion of IL-12 in the food-grade lactic acid bacterium Lactococcus lactis. IL-12 was expressed as two separate polypeptides (p35-p40) or as a single recombinant polypeptide (scIL-12). The biological activity of IL-12 produced by the recombinant L. lactis strain was confirmed in vitro by its ability to induce gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production by mouse splenocytes. Local administration of IL-12-producing strains at the intranasal mucosal surface resulted in IFN-γ production in mice. The activity was greater with the single polypeptide scIL-12. An antigen-specific cellular response (i.e., secretion of Th1 cytokines, IL-2, and IFN-γ) elicited by a recombinant L. lactis strain displaying a cell wall-anchored human papillomavirus type 16 E7 antigen was dramatically increased by coadministration with an L. lactis strain secreting IL-12 protein. Our data show that IL-12 is produced and secreted in an active form by L. lactis and that the strategy which we describe can be used to enhance an antigen-specific immune response and to stimulate local mucosal immunity.
Brucella abortus is a facultative intracellular gram-negative bacterial pathogen that infects humans and animals by entry mainly through the digestive tract. B. abortus causes abortion in pregnant cattle and undulant fever in humans. The immunogenic B. abortus ribosomal protein L7/L12 is a promising candidate antigen for the development of oral live vaccines against brucellosis, using food-grade lactic acid bacteria (LAB) as a carrier. The L7/L12 gene was expressed in Lactococcus lactis, the model LAB, under the nisin-inducible promoter. Using different signals, L7/L12 was produced in cytoplasmic, cell-wall-anchored, and secreted forms. Cytoplasmic production of L7/L12 gave a low yield, estimated at 0.5 mg/liter. Interestingly, a secretable form of this normally cytoplasmic protein via fusion with a signal peptide resulted in increased yield of L7/L12 to 3 mg/liter; secretion efficiency (SE) was 35%. A fusion between the mature moiety of the staphylococcal nuclease (Nuc) and L7/L12 further increased yield to 8 mg/liter. Fusion with a synthetic propeptide (LEISSTCDA) previously described as an enhancer for heterologous protein secretion in L. lactis (Y. Le Loir, A. Gruss, S. D. Ehrlich, and P. Langella, J. Bacteriol. 180:1895-1903, 1998) raised the yield to 8 mg/liter and SE to 50%. A surface-anchored L7/L12 form in L. lactis was obtained by fusing the cell wall anchor of Streptococcus pyogenes M6 protein to the C-terminal end of L7/L12. The fusions described allow the production and targeting of L7/L12 in three different locations in L. lactis. This is the first example of a B. abortus antigen produced in a food-grade bacterium and opens new perspectives for alternative vaccine strategies against brucellosis.
The alphaherpesvirus tegument protein VP22 has been characterized with multiple traits including microtubule reorganization, nuclear localization, and nonclassical intercellular trafficking. However, all these data were derived from studies using herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and may not apply to VP22 homologs of other alphaherpesviruses. We compared subcellular attributes of HSV-1 VP22 (HVP22) with bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1) VP22 (BVP22) using green fluorescent protein (GFP)-fused VP22 expression vectors. Fluorescence microscopy of cell lines transfected with these constructs revealed differences as well as similarities between the two VP22 homologs. Compared to that of HVP22, the BVP22 microtubule interaction was much less pronounced. The VP22 nuclear interaction varied, with a marbled or halo appearance for BVP22 and a speckled or nucleolus-bound appearance for HVP22. Both VP22 homologs associated with chromatin at various stages of mitosis and could traffic from expressing cells to the nuclei of nonexpressing cells. However, distinct qualitative differences in microtubule, nuclear, and chromatin association as well as trafficking were observed. The differences in VP22 homolog characteristics revealed in this study will help define VP22 function within HSV-1 and BHV-1 infection.
Type I interferons (IFNs) are cytokines that orchestrate diverse immune responses to viral and bacterial infections. Although typically considered to be most important molecules in response to viruses, type I IFNs are also induced by most, if not all, bacterial pathogens. In this study, we addressed the role of type I IFN signaling during Brucella abortus infection, a facultative intracellular bacterial pathogen that causes abortion in domestic animals and undulant fever in humans. Herein, we have shown that B. abortus induced IFN-β in macrophages and splenocytes. Further, IFN-β induction by Brucella was mediated by IRF3 signaling pathway and activates IFN-stimulated genes via STAT1 phosphorylation. In addition, IFN-β expression induced by Brucella is independent of TLRs and TRIF signaling but MyD88-dependent, a pathway not yet described for Gram-negative bacteria. Furthermore, we have identified Brucella DNA as the major bacterial component to induce IFN-β and our study revealed that this molecule operates through a mechanism dependent on RNA polymerase III to be sensed probably by an unknown receptor via the adaptor molecule STING. Finally, we have demonstrated that IFN-αβR KO mice are more resistant to infection suggesting that type I IFN signaling is detrimental to host control of Brucella. This resistance phenotype is accompanied by increased IFN-γ and NO production by IFN-αβR KO spleen cells and reduced apoptosis.
As Brucella infections occur mainly through mucosal surfaces, the development of mucosal administered vaccines could be radical for the control of brucellosis. In this work we evaluated the potential of Brucella abortus 19 kDa outer membrane protein (U-Omp19) as an edible subunit vaccine against brucellosis. We investigated the protective immune response elicited against oral B. abortus infection after vaccination of mice with leaves from transgenic plants expressing U-Omp19; or with plant-made or E. coli-made purified U-Omp19. All tested U-Omp19 formulations induced protection against Brucella when orally administered without the need of adjuvants. U-Omp19 also induced protection against a systemic challenge when parenterally administered. This built-in adjuvant ability of U-Omp19 was independent of TLR4 and could be explained at least in part by its capability to activate dendritic cells in vivo. While unadjuvanted U-Omp19 intraperitoneally administered induced a specific Th1 response, following U-Omp19 oral delivery a mixed specific Th1-Th17 response was induced. Depletion of CD4+ T cells in mice orally vaccinated with U-Omp19 resulted in a loss of the elicited protection, indicating that this cell type mediates immune protection. The role of IL-17 against Brucella infection has never been explored. In this study, we determined that if IL-17A was neutralized in vivo during the challenge period, the mucosal U-Omp19 vaccine did not confer mucosal protection. On the contrary, IL-17A neutralization during the infection did not influence at all the subsistence and growth of this bacterium in PBS-immunized mice. All together, our results indicate that an oral unadjuvanted vaccine based on U-Omp19 induces protection against a mucosal challenge with Brucella abortus by inducing an adaptive IL-17 immune response. They also indicate different and important new aspects i) IL-17 does not contribute to reduce the bacterial burden in non vaccinated mice and ii) IL-17 plays a central role in vaccine mediated anti-Brucella mucosal immunity.
Schistosomiasis continues to be a significant public health problem. This disease affects 200 million people worldwide and almost 800 million people are at risk of acquiring the infection. Although vaccine development against this disease has experienced more failures than successes, encouraging results have recently been obtained using membrane-spanning protein antigens from the tegument of Schistosoma mansoni. Our group recently identified Sm29, another antigen that is present at the adult worm tegument surface. In this study, we investigated murine cellular immune responses to recombinant (r) Sm29 and tested this protein as a vaccine candidate.
Methods and Findings
We first show that Sm29 is located on the surface of adult worms and lung-stage schistosomula through confocal microscopy. Next, immunization of mice with rSm29 engendered 51%, 60% and 50% reduction in adult worm burdens, in intestinal eggs and in liver granuloma counts, respectively (p<0.05). Protective immunity in mice was associated with high titers of specific anti-Sm29 IgG1 and IgG2a and elevated production of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-12, a typical Th1 response. Gene expression analysis of worms recovered from rSm29 vaccinated mice relative to worms from control mice revealed a significant (q<0.01) down-regulation of 495 genes and up-regulation of only 22 genes. Among down-regulated genes, many of them encode surface antigens and proteins associated with immune signals, suggesting that under immune attack schistosomes reduce the expression of critical surface proteins.
This study demonstrates that Sm29 surface protein is a new vaccine candidate against schistosomiasis and suggests that Sm29 vaccination associated with other protective critical surface antigens is the next logical strategy for improving protection.
Schistosomiasis is the most important human helminth infection in terms of morbidity and mortality. Although the efforts to develop a vaccine against this disease have experienced failures, a new generation of surface antigens revealed by proteomic studies changed this scenario. Our group has characterized the protein Sm29 described previously as one of the most exposed and expressed antigens in the outer tegument of Schistosoma mansoni. Studies in patients living in endemic areas for schistosomiasis revealed high levels of IgG1 and IgG3 anti-Sm29 in resistant individuals. In this study, confocal microscope analysis showed Sm29 present in the surface of lung-stage schistosoluma and adult worms. Recombinant Sm29, when used as vaccine candidate, induced high levels of protection in mice. This protection was associated with a typical Th1 immune response and reduction of worm burden, liver granulomas and in intestinal eggs. Further, microarray analysis of worms recovered from vaccinated mice showed significant down-regulation of several genes encoding previously characterized vaccine candidates and/or molecules exposed on the surface, suggesting an immune evasion strategy of schistosomes under immune attack. These results demonstrated that Sm29 as one of the important antigens with potential to compose a vaccine against schistosomiasis.