JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Induction of antigen-specific Th1-type immune responses by gamma-irradiated recombinant Brucella abortus RB51.

Brucella abortus strain RB51 is an attenuated rough mutant used as the live vaccine against bovine brucellosis in the United States and other countries. We previously reported the development of strain RB51 as a bacterial vaccine vector for inducing Th1-type immune responses against heterologous proteins. Because safety concerns may preclude the use of strain RB51-based recombinant live vaccines, we explored the ability of a gamma-irradiated recombinant RB51 strain to induce heterologous antigen-specific immune responses in BALB/c mice. Exposure of strain RB51G/LacZ expressing Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase to a minimum of 300 kilorads of gamma radiation resulted in complete loss of replicative ability. These bacteria, however, remained metabolically active and continued to synthesize beta-galactosidase. A single intraperitoneal inoculation of mice with 10(9) CFU equivalents of gamma-irradiated, but not heat-killed, RB51G/LacZ induced a beta-galactosidase-specific Th1-type immune response. Though no obvious differences were detected in immune responses to B. abortus-specific antigens, mice vaccinated with gamma-irradiated, but not heat-killed, RB51G/LacZ developed significant protection against challenge with virulent B. abortus. In vitro experiments indicated that gamma-irradiated and heat-killed RB51G/LacZ induced maturation of dendritic cells; however, stimulation with gamma-irradiated bacteria resulted in more interleukin-12 secretion. These results suggest that recombinant RB51 strains exposed to an appropriate minimum dose of gamma radiation are unable to replicate but retain their ability to stimulate Th1 immune responses against the heterologous antigens and confer protection against B. abortus challenge in mice.

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