7 research outputs found

    Development of a Multivalent Subunit Vaccine against Tularemia Using Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) Based Delivery System

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    Francisella tularensisis a facultative intracellular pathogen, and is the causative agent of a fatal human disease known as tularemia. F. tularensis is classified as a Category A Biothreat agent by the CDC based on its use in bioweapon programs by several countries in the past and its potential to be used as an agent of bioterrorism. No licensed vaccine is currently available for prevention of tularemia. In this study, we used a novel approach for development of a multivalent subunit vaccine against tularemia by using an efficient tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) based delivery platform. The multivalent subunit vaccine was formulated to contain a combination of F. tularensis protective antigens: OmpA-like protein (OmpA), chaperone protein DnaK and lipoprotein Tul4 from the highly virulent F. tularensisSchuS4 strain. Two different vaccine formulations and immunization schedules were used. The immunized mice were challenged with lethal (10xLD100) doses of F. tularensisLVS on day 28 of the primary immunization and observed daily for morbidity and mortality. Results from this study demonstrate that TMV can be used as a carrier for effective delivery of multiple F. tularensisantigens. TMV-conjugate vaccine formulations are safe and multiple doses can be administered without causing any adverse reactions in immunized mice. Immunization with TMV-conjugated F. tularensisproteins induced a strong humoral immune response and protected mice against respiratory challenges with very high doses of F. tularensis LVS. This study provides a proof-of-concept that TMV can serve as a suitable platform for simultaneous delivery of multiple protective antigens of F. tularensis. Refinement of vaccine formulations coupled with TMV-targeting strategies developed in this study will provide a platform for development of an effective tularemia subunit vaccine as well as a vaccination approach that may broadly be applicable to many other bacterial pathogens

    Generation of a Convalescent Model of Virulent Francisella tularensis Infection for Assessment of Host Requirements for Survival of Tularemia

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    Francisella tularensis is a facultative intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of tularemia. Development of novel vaccines and therapeutics for tularemia has been hampered by the lack of understanding of which immune components are required to survive infection. Defining these requirements for protection against virulent F. tularensis, such as strain SchuS4, has been difficult since experimentally infected animals typically die within 5 days after exposure to as few as 10 bacteria. Such a short mean time to death typically precludes development, and therefore assessment, of immune responses directed against virulent F. tularensis. To enable identification of the components of the immune system that are required for survival of virulent F. tularensis, we developed a convalescent model of tularemia in C57Bl/6 mice using low dose antibiotic therapy in which the host immune response is ultimately responsible for clearance of the bacterium. Using this model we demonstrate Ξ±Ξ²TCR+ cells, Ξ³Ξ΄TCR+ cells, and B cells are necessary to survive primary SchuS4 infection. Analysis of mice deficient in specific soluble mediators shows that IL-12p40 and IL-12p35 are essential for survival of SchuS4 infection. We also show that IFN-Ξ³ is required for survival of SchuS4 infection since mice lacking IFN-Ξ³R succumb to disease during the course of antibiotic therapy. Finally, we found that both CD4+ and CD8+ cells are the primary producers of IFN-Ξ³and that Ξ³Ξ΄TCR+ cells and NK cells make a minimal contribution toward production of this cytokine throughout infection. Together these data provide a novel model that identifies key cells and cytokines required for survival or exacerbation of infection with virulent F. tularensis and provides evidence that this model will be a useful tool for better understanding the dynamics of tularemia infection

    Host-Adaptation of Francisella tularensis Alters the Bacterium's Surface-Carbohydrates to Hinder Effectors of Innate and Adaptive Immunity

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    The gram-negative bacterium Francisella tularensis survives in arthropods, fresh water amoeba, and mammals with both intracellular and extracellular phases and could reasonably be expected to express distinct phenotypes in these environments. The presence of a capsule on this bacterium has been controversial with some groups finding such a structure while other groups report that no capsule could be identified. Previously we reported in vitro culture conditions for this bacterium which, in contrast to typical methods, yielded a bacterial phenotype that mimics that of the bacterium's mammalian, extracellular phase.SDS-PAGE and carbohydrate analysis of differentially-cultivated F. tularensis LVS revealed that bacteria displaying the host-adapted phenotype produce both longer polymers of LPS O-antigen (OAg) and additional HMW carbohydrates/glycoproteins that are reduced/absent in non-host-adapted bacteria. Analysis of wildtype and OAg-mutant bacteria indicated that the induced changes in surface carbohydrates involved both OAg and non-OAg species. To assess the impact of these HMW carbohydrates on the access of outer membrane constituents to antibody we used differentially-cultivated bacteria in vitro to immunoprecipitate antibodies directed against outer membrane moieties. We observed that the surface-carbohydrates induced during host-adaptation shield many outer membrane antigens from binding by antibody. Similar assays with normal mouse serum indicate that the induced HMW carbohydrates also impede complement deposition. Using an in vitro macrophage infection assay, we find that the bacterial HMW carbohydrate impedes TLR2-dependent, pro-inflammatory cytokine production by macrophages. Lastly we show that upon host-adaptation, the human-virulent strain, F. tularensis SchuS4 also induces capsule production with the effect of reducing macrophage-activation and accelerating tularemia pathogenesis in mice.F. tularensis undergoes host-adaptation which includes production of multiple capsular materials. These capsules impede recognition of bacterial outer membrane constituents by antibody, complement, and Toll-Like Receptor 2. These changes in the host-pathogen interface have profound implications for pathogenesis and vaccine development