Leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins are of great interest due to their ability to act as mediators of pathogenesis, serodiagnostic antigens, and immunogens. Purified recombinant LigA protein is the most promising subunit vaccine candidate against leptospirosis reported to date, however, as purified proteins are weak immunogens the use of a potent adjuvant is essential for the success of LigA as a subunit vaccine. In the present study, we compared xanthan pv. pruni (strain 106), aluminium hydroxide (alhydrogel), and CpG ODN as adjuvants in a LigA subunit vaccine preparation. Xanthan gum is a high molecular weight extracellular polysaccharide produced by fermentation of Xanthomonas spp., a plant-pathogenic bacterium genus. Preparations containing xanthan induced a strong antibody response comparable to that observed when alhydrogel was used. Upon challenge with a virulent strain of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni, significant protection (Fisher test, P < 0.05) was observed in 100%, 100%, and 67% of hamsters immunized with rLigANI-xanthan, LigA-CpG-xanthan, and rLigANI-alhydrogel, respectively. Furthermore, xanthan did not cause cytotoxicity in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in vitro. The use of xanthan as an adjuvant is a novel alternative for enhancing the immunogenicity of vaccines against leptospirosis and possibly against other pathogens.
Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer affecting women. Methotrexate (MTX) is an antimetabolic drug that remains important in the treatment of breast cancer. Its efficacy is compromised by resistance in cancer cells that occurs through a variety of mechanisms. This study evaluated apoptotic cell death and cell cycle arrest induced by an MTX derivative (MTX diethyl ester [MTX(OEt)2]) and MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules in two MTX-resistant breast adenocarcinoma cell lines, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231. The formulations prepared presented adequate granulometric profile. The treatment responses were evaluated through flow cytometry. Relying on the mechanism of resistance, we observed different responses between cell lines. For MCF-7 cells, MTX(OEt)2 solution and MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules presented significantly higher apoptotic rates than untreated cells and cells incubated with unloaded lipid-core nanocapsules. For MDA-MB-231 cells, MTX(OEt)2-loaded lipid-core nanocapsules were significantly more efficient in inducing apoptosis than the solution of the free drug. S-phase cell cycle arrest was induced only by MTX(OEt)2 solution. The drug nanoencapsulation improved apoptosis induction for the cell line that presents MTX resistance by lack of transport receptors.
MTX derivative; resistance; apoptotic cell death; cell cycle arrest; nanocarriers; drug delivery; drug targeting
Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae is the etiological agent of porcine enzootic pneumonia (EP), which is a respiratory disease responsible for huge economic losses in the pig industry worldwide. The commercially available vaccines provide only partial protection and are expensive. Thus, the development of alternatives for the prophylaxis of EP is critical for improving pig health. The use of multiple antigens in the same immunization may represent a promising alternative. In the present study, seven secreted proteins of M. hyopneumoniae were cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, and evaluated for antigenicity using serum from naturally and experimentally infected pigs. In addition, the immunogenicity of the seven recombinant proteins delivered individually or in protein cocktail vaccines was evaluated in mice. In Western blot assays and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, most of the recombinant proteins evaluated were recognized by convalescent-phase serum from the animals, indicating that they are expressed during the infectious process. The recombinant proteins were also immunogenic, and most induced a mixed IgG1/IgG2a humoral immune response. The use of these proteins in a cocktail vaccine formulation enhanced the immune response compared to their use as antigens delivered individually, providing evidence of the efficacy of the multiple-antigen administration strategy for the induction of an immune response against M. hyopneumoniae.
The leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins LigA and LigB possess immunoglobulin-like domains with 90-amino-acid repeats and are adhesion molecules involved in pathogenicity. They are conserved in pathogenic Leptospira spp. and thus are of interest for use as serodiagnostic antigens and in recombinant vaccine formulations. The N-terminal amino acid sequences of the LigA and LigB proteins are identical, but the C-terminal sequences vary. In this study, we evaluated the protective potential of five truncated forms of LigA and LigB proteins from Leptospira interrogans serovar Canicola as DNA vaccines using the pTARGET mammalian expression vector. Hamsters immunized with the DNA vaccines were subjected to a heterologous challenge with L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni strain Spool via the intraperitoneal route. Immunization with a DNA vaccine encoding LigBrep resulted in the survival of 5/8 (62.5%) hamsters against lethal infection (P < 0.05). None of the control hamsters or animals immunized with the other vaccine preparations survived. The vaccine induced an IgG antibody response and, additionally, conferred sterilizing immunity in 80% of the surviving animals. Our results indicate that the LigBrep DNA vaccine is a promising candidate for inclusion in a protective leptospiral vaccine.
Toward developing an effective vaccine capable of conferring heterologous protection, the putative lipoprotein LemA, which presents an M3 epitope similar to that of Listeria, was evaluated as a vaccine candidate in the hamster model of leptospirosis. LemA is conserved (>70% pairwise identity) among the pathogenic Leptospira spp., indicating its potential in stimulating a cross-protective immune response. Using different vaccination strategies, including prime-boost, DNA vaccine, and a subunit preparation, recombinant LemA conferred different levels of protection in hamsters. Significant protection against mortality was observed for the prime-boost and the DNA vaccine strategies, which showed 87.5% (P < 0.01) and 62.5% (P < 0.05) efficacy, respectively. Although the subunit vaccine preparation protected 50.0% of immunized hamsters, the level of protection was not significant. None of the hamsters in the control groups survived challenge with a virulent strain of Leptospira interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae. Characterization of the immune response found that the strongest antibody response was stimulated by the subunit vaccine preparation, followed by the prime-boost strategy. The DNA vaccine failed to elicit an antibody response in immunized hamsters.
Bovine botulism is a fatal disease that is caused by botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) produced by Clostridium botulinum serotypes C and D and that causes great economic losses, with nearly 100% lethality during outbreaks. It has also been considered a potential source of human food-borne illness in many countries. Vaccination has been reported to be the most effective way to control bovine botulism. However, the commercially available toxoid-based vaccines are difficult and hazardous to produce. Neutralizing antibodies targeted against the C-terminal fragment of the BoNT heavy chain (HC) are known to confer efficient protection against lethal doses of BoNTs. In this study, a novel recombinant chimera, consisting of Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit (LTB), a strong adjuvant of the humoral immune response, fused to the HC of BoNT serotypes C and D, was produced in E. coli. Mice vaccinated with the chimera containing LTB and an equivalent molar ratio of the chimera without LTB plus aluminum hydroxide (Al(OH)3) developed 2 IU/mL of antitoxins for both serotypes. Guinea pigs immunized with the recombinant chimera with LTB plus Al(OH)3 developed a protective immune response against both BoNT/C (5 IU/mL) and BoNT/D (10 IU/mL), as determined by a mouse neutralization bioassay with pooled sera. The results achieved with guinea pig sera fulfilled the requirements of commercial vaccines for prevention of botulism, as determined by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, Supply. The presence of LTB was essential for the development of a strong humoral immune response, as it acted in synergism with Al(OH)3. Thus, the vaccine described in this study is a strong candidate for the control of botulism in cattle.
Mycobacterium bovis is the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle but also infects other animals, including humans. Previous studies in cattle have demonstrated that the protection induced by BCG is not complete. In order to improve the protection efficacy of BCG, in this study we overexpressed Ag85B in a BCG Pasteur strain, by using an expression system based on the use of an auxotrophic strain for the leucine amino acid, and complementation with leuD. We found that vaccination of cattle with BCG overexpressing Ag85B induced higher production of IL-17 and IL-4 mRNA upon purified protein derivative (PPDB) stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) than vaccination with BCG. Moreover, the IL-17 mRNA expression after vaccination negatively correlated with disease severity resulting from a subsequent challenge with M. bovis, suggesting that this cytokine is a potential biomarker of cattle protection against bovine tuberculosis. Importantly, vaccination with the recombinant BCG vaccine protected cattle better than the wild-type BCG Pasteur.
Leptospirosis, a worldwide zoonosis, lacks an effective, safe, and cross-protective vaccine. LipL32, the most abundant, immunogenic, and conserved surface lipoprotein present in all pathogenic species of Leptospira, is a promising antigen candidate for a recombinant vaccine. However, several studies have reported a lack of protection when this protein is used as a subunit vaccine. In an attempt to enhance the immune response, we used LipL32 coupled to or coadministered with the B subunit of the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) in a hamster model of leptospirosis. After homologous challenge with 5× the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of Leptospira interrogans, animals vaccinated with LipL32 coadministered with LTB and LTB::LipL32 had significantly higher survival rates (P < 0.05) than animals from the control group. This is the first report of a protective immune response afforded by a subunit vaccine using LipL32 and represents an important contribution toward the development of improved leptospirosis vaccines.
A recent study by our group reported the isolation and partial serological and molecular characterization of four Leptospira borgpetersenii serogroup Ballum strains. Here, we reproduced experimental leptospirosis in golden Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) and carried out standardization of lethal dose 50% (LD50) of one of these strains (4E). Clinical disease features and histopathologic analyses of tissue lesions were also observed. As results, strain 4E induced lethality in the hamster model with inocula lower than 10 leptospires, and histopathological examination of animals showed typical lesions found in severe leptospirosis. Gross pathological findings were peculiar; animals that died early had more chance of presenting severe jaundice and less chance of presenting pulmonary hemorrhages (P < 0.01). L. borgpetersenii serogroup Ballum has had a considerable growth in human leptospirosis cases in recent years. This strain has now been thoroughly characterized and can be used in more studies, especially evaluations of vaccine candidates.
Leptospirosis is the most widespread zoonosis in the world. Current vaccines are based on whole-cell preparations that cause severe side effects and do not induce satisfactory immunity. In light of the leptospiral genome sequences recently made available, several studies aimed at identification of protective recombinant immunogens have been performed; however, few such immunogens have been identified. The aim of this study was to evaluate 27 recombinant antigens to determine their potential to induce an immune response protective against leptospirosis in the hamster model. Experiments were conducted with groups of female hamsters immunized with individual antigen preparations. Hamsters were then challenged with a lethal dose of Leptospira interrogans. Thirteen antigens induced protective immune responses; however, only recombinant proteins LIC10325 and LIC13059 induced significant protection against mortality. These results have important implications for the development of an efficacious recombinant subunit vaccine against leptospirosis.
Human and animal leptospirosis caused by Leptospira spp. belonging to serogroup Ballum has increased worldwide in the past decade. We report the isolation and serologic and molecular characterization of four L. borgpetersenii serogroup Ballum isolates obtained from Mus musculus, and preliminary virulence studies. These isolates are useful for diagnosis of leptospirosis and for epidemiologic studies of its virulence and pathogenic mechanisms.
The purpose of this study was to perform a 16S sequence-based quality control of two Leptospira strain collections. 16S rRNA gene sequencing was used to verify two Leptospira reference collections provided by the World Health Organization and maintained at a reference laboratory for leptospirosis in Brazil. Among the 89 serovars evaluated, four conflicting strains were identified in one of the collections. Although 16S rRNA gene sequencing cannot identify Leptospira beyond the species level, it is suitable for the identification of contamination and quality control of leptospiral reference collections. This study highlights the importance of the availability of high-quality 16S rRNA sequences in public databases. In addition, it emphasizes the need for periodical verifications and quality control of Leptospira reference collections.
Leptospirosis, a zoonosis caused by Leptospira spp., is recognized as an emergent infectious disease. Due to the lack of adequate diagnostic tools, vaccines are an attractive intervention strategy. Recombinant proteins produced in Escherichia coli have demonstrated promising results, albeit with variable efficacy. Pichia pastoris is an alternative host with several advantages for the production of recombinant proteins.
The vaccine candidates LigANI and LipL32 were cloned and expressed in P. pastoris as secreted proteins. Large-scale expression resulted in a yield of 276 mg/L for LigANI and 285 mg/L for LipL32. The recombinant proteins were glycosylated and were recognized by antibodies present in the sera of patients with severe leptospirosis.
The expression of LigANI and LipL32 in P. pastoris resulted in a significant increase in yield compared to expression in E. coli. In addition, the proteins were secreted, allowing for easy purification, and retained the antigenic characteristics of the native proteins, demonstrating their potential application as subunit vaccine candidates.
Leptospirosis is one of the most widespread zoonoses in the world and with over 260 pathogenic serovars there is an urgent need for a molecular system of classification. The development of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) schemes for Leptospira spp. is addressing this issue. The aim of this study was to identify loci with potential to enhance Leptospira strain discrimination by sequencing-based methods.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We used bioinformatics to evaluate pre-existing loci with the potential to increase the discrimination of outbreak strains. Previously deposited sequence data were evaluated by phylogenetic analyses using either single or concatenated sequences. We identified and evaluated the applicability of the ligB, secY, rpoB and lipL41 loci, individually and in combination, to discriminate between 38 pathogenic Leptospira strains and to cluster them according to the species they belonged to. Pairwise identity among the loci ranged from 82.0–92.0%, while interspecies identity was 97.7–98.5%. Using the ligB-secY-rpoB-lipL41 superlocus it was possible to discriminate 34/38 strains, which belong to six pathogenic Leptospira species. In addition, the sequences were concatenated with the superloci from 16 sequence types from a previous MLST scheme employed to study the association of a leptospiral clone with an outbreak of human leptospirosis in Thailand. Their use enhanced the discriminative power of the existing scheme. The lipL41 and rpoB loci raised the resolution from 81.0–100%, but the enhanced scheme still remains limited to the L. interrogans and L. kirschneri species.
As the first aim of our study, the ligB-secY-rpoB-lipL41 superlocus demonstrated a satisfactory level of discrimination among the strains evaluated. Second, the inclusion of the rpoB and lipL41 loci to a MLST scheme provided high resolution for discrimination of strains within L. interrogans and L. kirschneri and might be useful in future epidemiological studies.
The family of leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (lig) genes comprises ligA, ligB and ligC. This study used PCR to demonstrate the presence of lig genes among serovars from a collection of leptospiral strains and clinical isolates. Whilst ligA and ligC appeared to be present in a limited number of pathogenic serovars, the ligB gene was distributed ubiquitously among all pathogenic strains. None of the lig genes were detected among intermediate or saprophytic Leptospira species. It was also shown that, similar to the previously characterized secY gene, a short specific PCR fragment of ligB could be used to correctly identify pathogenic Leptospira species. These findings demonstrate that ligB is widely present among pathogenic strains and may be useful for their reliable identification and classification.
Recent serologic, immunoprotection, and pathogenesis studies identified the Lig proteins as key virulence determinants in interactions of leptospiral pathogens with the mammalian host. We examined the sequence variation and recombination patterns of ligA, ligB, and ligC among 10 pathogenic strains from five Leptospira species. All strains were found to have intact ligB genes and genetic drift accounting for most of the ligB genetic diversity observed. The ligA gene was found exclusively in L. interrogans and L. kirschneri strains, and was created from ligB by a two-step partial gene duplication process. The aminoterminal domain of LigB and the LigA paralog were essentially identical (98.5 ± 0.8% mean identity) in strains with both genes. Like ligB, ligC gene variation also followed phylogenetic patterns, suggesting an early gene duplication event. However, ligC is a pseudogene in several strains, suggesting that LigC is not essential for virulence. Two ligB genes and one ligC gene had mosaic compositions and evidence for recombination events between related Leptospira species was also found for some ligA genes. In conclusion, the results presented here indicate that Lig diversity has important ramifications for the selection of Lig polypeptides for use in diagnosis and as vaccine candidates. This sequence information will aid the identification of highly conserved regions within the Lig proteins and improve upon the performance characteristics of the Lig proteins in diagnostic assays and in subunit vaccine formulations with the potential to confer heterologous protection.
Leptospirosis; Lig; Pathogenesis; Molecular evolution; Sequence analysis
Leptospira interrogans is the most common cause of leptospirosis in humans and animals. Genetic analysis of L. interrogans has been severely hindered by a lack of tools for genetic manipulation. Recently we developed the mariner-based transposon Himar1 to generate the first defined mutants in L. interrogans. In this study, a total of 929 independent transposon mutants were obtained and the location of insertion determined. Of these mutants, 721 were located in the protein coding regions of 551 different genes. While sequence analysis of transposon insertion sites indicated that transposition occurred in an essentially random fashion in the genome, 25 unique transposon mutants were found to exhibit insertions into genes encoding 16S or 23S rRNAs, suggesting these genes are insertional hot spots in the L. interrogans genome. In contrast, loci containing notionally essential genes involved in lipopolysaccharide and heme biosynthesis showed few transposon insertions. The effect of gene disruption on the virulence of a selected set of defined mutants was investigated using the hamster model of leptospirosis. Two attenuated mutants with disruptions in hypothetical genes were identified, thus validating the use of transposon mutagenesis for the identification of novel virulence factors in L. interrogans. This library provides a valuable resource for the study of gene function in L. interrogans. Combined with the genome sequences of L. interrogans, this provides an opportunity to investigate genes that contribute to pathogenesis and will provide a better understanding of the biology of L. interrogans.
Effort has been made to identify protective antigens in order to develop a recombinant vaccine against leptospirosis. Several attempts failed to conclusively demonstrate efficacy of vaccine candidates due to the lack of an appropriate model of lethal leptospirosis. The purposes of our study were: (i) to test the virulence of leptospiral isolates from Brazil, which are representative of important serogroups that cause disease in humans and animals; and (ii) to standardize the lethal dose 50% (LD50) for each of the virulent strains using a hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) model. Five of seven Brazilian isolates induced lethality in a hamster model, with inocula lower than 200 leptospires. Histopathological examination of infected animals showed typical lesions found in both natural and experimental leptospirosis. Results described here demonstrated the potential use of Brazilian isolates as highly virulent strains in challenge experiments using hamster as an appropriate animal model for leptospirosis. Furthermore these strains may be useful in heterologous challenge studies which aim to evaluate cross-protective responses induced by subunit vaccine candidates.
Leptospira; leptospirosis; lethal dose; isolation; animal model; virulence
We analyzed mtDNA control region sequences of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from Arvoredo Island, a foraging ground in southern Brazil, and identified eight haplotypes. Of these, CM-A8 (64%) and CM-A5 (22%) were dominant, the remainder presenting low frequencies (< 5%). Haplotype (h) and nucleotide (π) diversities were 0.5570 ± 0.0697 and 0.0021 ± 0.0016, respectively. Exact tests of differentiation and AMOVA ΦST pairwise values between the study area and eight other Atlantic foraging grounds revealed significant differences in most areas, except Ubatuba and Rocas/Noronha, in Brazil (p > 0.05). Mixed Stock Analysis, incorporating eleven Atlantic and one Mediterranean rookery as possible sources of individuals, indicated Ascension and Aves islands as the main contributing stocks to the Arvoredo aggregation (68.01% and 22.96%, respectively). These results demonstrate the extensive relationships between Arvoredo Island and other Atlantic foraging and breeding areas. Such an understanding provides a framework for establishing adequate management and conservation strategies for this endangered species.
foraging grounds; genetic diversity; green turtle; mtDNA haplotypes; natal origins
In this study, we observed the presence of antileptospiral agglutinins in freshwater turtles of two urban lakes of Pelotas, Southern Brazil. Forty animals (29 Trachemys dorbigny and 11 Phrynops hilarii) were captured and studied. Attempts to isolate leptospires from blood and urine samples were unsuccessful. Serum samples (titer > 100) reactive to pathogenic strains were observed in 11 animals. These data encourage surveys of pet turtles to evaluate the risk of transmission of pathogenic leptospires to humans.
Leptospirosis; Turtles; Agglutinins
Zoonoses; Leptospira noguchii; leptospirosis; isolation; taxonomy; letter
Subunit vaccines are a potential intervention strategy against leptospirosis, which is a major public health problem in developing countries and a veterinary disease in livestock and companion animals worldwide. Leptospiral immunoglobulin-like (Lig) proteins are a family of surface-exposed determinants that have Ig-like repeat domains found in virulence factors such as intimin and invasin. We expressed fragments of the repeat domain regions of LigA and LigB from Leptospira interrogans serovar Copenhageni. Immunization of Golden Syrian hamsters with Lig fragments in Freund’s adjuvant induced robust antibody responses against recombinant protein and native protein, as detected by ELISA and immunoblot, respectively. A single fragment, LigANI, which corresponds to the six carboxy-terminal Ig-like repeat domains of the LigA molecule, conferred immunoprotection against mortality (67-100%, P <0.05) in hamsters which received a lethal inoculum of L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni. However, immunization with this fragment did not confer sterilizing immunity. These findings indicate that the carboxy-terminal portion of LigA is an immunoprotective domain and may serve as a vaccine candidate for human and veterinary leptospirosis.
Leptospirosis; subunit vaccine; Leptospiral immunoglobulin-like protein; recombinant protein; immunity; antibodies; hamsters
With the aim of isolating Leptospira spp., blood serum, kidney, liver and genital tract of 137 female swine (40 sows and 97 gilts) and also urine samples from 22 sows were collected in a slaughterhouse in the State of São Paulo, from April 2003 to August 2004. Four isolates were obtained from animals that presented microagglutination test (MAT) titers ≥ 100 for the serovar Pomona and one was obtained from an animal negative by MAT in which Leptospira was isolated from the liver and reproductive tract. The presence of leptospiral DNA was investigated by PCR, and positive results were found in kidneys of 11 females, liver of two, genital tract of two and urine of one of them. Nephrosis, interstitial multifocal nephritis, moderate to severe changing, hyalines cylinders and hemorrhagic focuses, hepatic and uterine horns congestion were histological lesions observed in higher frequency in animals positive for leptospira. The silver impregnation (Warthin Starry) confirmed the presence of spirochetes in renal tubules of four females with positive leptospira cultures from kidneys. The serogroup of the five isolates was identified as Pomona by cross agglutination with reference polyclonal antibodies. Molecular characterization of the isolates was carried out by variable-number tandem-repeats analysis. All the isolates revealed a pattern distinct from the L. interrogans Pomona type strain, but identical to a previously identified pattern from strains isolated in Argentina belonging to serovar Pomona.
Pomona; Swine; VNTR; Culture; PCR; Genital Tract
The main goal of this study was to obtain new isolates of Leptospira spp. from sheep. A total of ten kidney samples and 44 blood samples were collected from sheep slaughtered in Pelotas, Southern Brazil. One isolate was obtained which was identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing and serogrouping to be Leptospira noguchii serogroup Autumnalis. Microscopic agglutination test (MAT) evaluation revealed that 4.5% of the sheep sera reacted against the Autumnalis serogroup. This is the first report of isolation of L. noguchii from sheep. Together these findings indicate that L. noguchii infections may be a potentially important veterinary problem in this domestic animal species.
leptospirosis; Leptospira noguchii; isolation; serogrouping; sheep; Brazil
In this study, the kinetics of specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) isotypes were characterized in Babesia equi (Theileria equi)-infected horses. IgGa and IgGb developed during acute infection, whereas IgG(T) was detected only after resolution of acute parasitemia. The same IgG isotype profile induced during acute infection was obtained by equi merozoite antigen 1/saponin immunization.