A Combination of Recombinant Mycobacterium bovis BCG Strains Expressing Pneumococcal Proteins Induces Cellular and Humoral Immune Responses and Protects against Pneumococcal Colonization and Sepsis.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Clin Vaccine Immunol, 2017, 24, (10)
Issue Date:
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Pneumococcal diseases remain a substantial cause of mortality in young children in developing countries. The development of potentially serotype-transcending vaccines has been extensively studied; ideally, such a vaccine should include antigens that are able to induce protection against colonization (likely mediated by interleukin-17A [IL-17A]) and invasive disease (likely mediated by antibody). The use of strong adjuvants or alternative delivery systems that are able to improve the immunological response of recombinant proteins has been proposed but poses potential safety and practical concerns in children. We have previously constructed a recombinant Mycobacterium bovis BCG strain expressing a pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA)-PdT fusion protein (rBCG PspA-PdT) that was able to induce an effective immune response and protection against sepsis in a prime-boost strategy. Here, we constructed two new rBCG strains expressing the pneumococcal proteins SP 0148 and SP 2108, which confer IL-17A-dependent protection against pneumococcal colonization in mouse models. Immunization of mice with rBCG 0148 or rBCG 2108 in a prime-boost strategy induced IL-17A and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production. The combination of these rBCG strains with rBCG PspA-PdT (rBCG Mix), followed by a booster dose of the combined recombinant proteins (rMix) induced an IL-17A response against SP 0148 and SP 2108 and a humoral response characterized by increased levels of IgG2c against PspA and functional antibodies against pneumolysin. Furthermore, immunization with the rBCG Mix prime/rMix booster (rBCG Mix/rMix) provides protection against pneumococcal colonization and sepsis. These results suggest the use of combined rBCG strains as a potentially serotype-transcending pneumococcal vaccine in a prime-boost strategy, which could provide protection against pneumococcal colonization and sepsis.
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