Development of a ΔglnA balanced lethal plasmid system for expression of heterologous antigens by attenuated vaccine vector strains of Vibrio cholerae

Edward T. Ryan, Thomas I. Crean, Sims K. Kochi, Manohar John, Angel A. Luciano, Kevin P. Killeen, Karl E. Klose, Stephen B. Calderwood

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39 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that more prominent immune responses are induced to antigens expressed from multicopy plasmids in live attenuated vaccine vector strains of Vibrio cholerae than to antigens expressed from single-copy genes on the V. cholerae chromosome. Here, we report the construction of a ΔglnA derivative of V. cholerae vaccine strain Peru2. This mutant strain, Peru2ΔglnA, is unable to grow on medium that does not contain glutamine; this growth deficiency is complemented by pKEK71-NotI, a plasmid containing a complete copy of the Salmonella typhimurium glnA gene, or by pTIC5, a derivative of pKEK71-NotI containing a 1.8-kbp fragment that directs expression of CtxB with a 12-amino-acid epitope of the serine-rich Entamoeba histolytica protein fused to the amino terminus. Strain Peru2ΔglnA(pTIC5) produced 10-fold more SREHP-12-CtxB in supernatants than did ETR3, a Peru2- derivative strain containing the same fragment inserted on the chromosome. To assess immune responses to antigens expressed by this balanced lethal system in vivo, we inoculated germfree mice on days 0, 14, 28, and 42 with Peru2ΔglnA, Peru2ΔglnA (pKEK71-NotI), Peru2(pTIC5), Peru2ΔglnA (pTIC5), or ETR3. All V. cholerae strains were recoverable from stool for 8 to 12 days after primary inoculation, including Peru2ΔglnA; strains containing plasmids continued to harbor pKEK71-NotI or pTIC5 for 8 to 10 days after primary inoculation. Animals were sacrificed on day 56, and serum, stool and biliary samples were analyzed for immune responses. Vibriocidal antibody responses, reflective of in vivo colonization, were equivalent in all groups of animals. However, specific anti-CtxB immune responses in serum (P ≤ 0.05) and bile (P0.001) were significantly higher in animals that received Peru2ΔglnA(pTIC5) than in those that received ETR3, confirming the advantage of higher-level antigen expression in vivo. The development of this balanced lethal system thus permits construction and maintenance of vaccine and vector strains of V. cholerae that express high levels of immunogenic antigens from plasmid vectors without the need for antibiotic selection pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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