Oral vaccination with the defined live attenuated Francisella novicida vaccine strain U112δiglB has been demonstrated to induce protective immunity against pulmonary challenge with the highly human virulent Francisella tularensis strain SCHU S4. However, this vaccination regimen requires a booster dose in mice and Exhibits 50% protective efficacy in the Fischer 344 rat model. To enhance the efficacy of this vaccine strain, we engineered U112δiglB to express the Salmonella typhimurium FljB flagellin D1 domain, a TLR5 agonist. The U112δiglB::fljB strain was highly attenuated for intracellular macrophage replication, and although the FljB protein was expressed within the cytosol, it exhibited TLR5 activation in a TLR5-expressing HEK cell line. Additionally, infection of splenocytes and lymphocytes with U112δiglB::fljB induced significantly greater TNF-α production than infection with U112δiglB. Oral vaccination with U112δiglB::fljB also induced significantly greater protection than U112δiglB against pulmonary SCHU S4 challenge in rats. The enhanced protection was accompanied by higher IgG2a production and serum-mediated reduction of Francisella infectivity. Thus, the U112δiglB::fljB strain may serve as a potential vaccine candidate against pneumonic tularemia.
- Fischer 344 rat
- Francisella tularensis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases