Induction of cross-serovar protection against genital chlamydial infection by a targeted multisubunit vaccination approach

Weidang Li, M Neal Guentzel, J Seshu, Guangming Zhong, Ashlesh K Murthy, Bernard P Arulanandam
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology: CVI 2007, 14 (12): 1537-44
An important consideration for antichlamydial vaccine development is the induction of cross-serovar protection, since multiple serovars (D to L) of Chlamydia trachomatis cause genital infections. We have shown previously that vaccination with C. trachomatis-derived recombinant chlamydial protease-like activity factor (rCPAF) induced significant earlier resolution of Chlamydia muridarum infection and reduced oviduct pathology. However, the vaccinated mice continued to shed chlamydiae for up to 2 weeks after challenge. In this study, C. trachomatis serovar D recombinant proteins, such as recombinant major outer membrane protein (rMOMP), recombinant inclusion membrane protein A (rIncA), and rCPAF were administered intranasally, individually or in combinations, with murine interleukin-12 (IL-12) as an adjuvant, and cross-species immunity against intravaginal C. muridarum infection was examined. Immunization with rCPAF plus IL-12 (rCPAF+IL-12), compared to immunization with rIncA+IL-12 or rMOMP+IL-12, induced the greatest antigen-specific gamma interferon production from purified CD4(+) T cells and concurrently enhanced serum antibody production. All (100%) the animals vaccinated with rCPAF+IL-12 alone or in any combination completely resolved the infection by day 18 after challenge compared to animals vaccinated with rIncA+IL-12 (50%), rMOMP+IL-12 (33%), or phosphate-buffered saline (mock vaccinated; 0%). Moreover, oviduct pathology in mice vaccinated by any regimen that included rCPAF, but not rMOMP+IL-12 or rIncA+IL-12 alone, was markedly reduced compared to mock-immunized animals. The addition of rMOMP and/or rIncA did not significantly enhance the rCPAF+IL-12-induced effect on bacterial clearance or oviduct pathology. These results suggest a greater conservation of protective linear antigenic epitopes within CPAF than MOMP or IncA across the examined serovars and the need to identify other highly conserved antigens for use with rCPAF in a multisubunit recombinant vaccine.

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