Swimming against the current: genetic vaccination against Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mice.
ABSTRACT Vaccines have had an unquestionable impact on public health during the last century. The most likely reason for the success of vaccines is the robust protective properties of specific antibodies. However, antibodies exert a strong selective pressure and many microorganisms, such as the obligatory intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, have been selected to survive in their presence. Although the host develops a strong immune response to T. cruzi, they do not clear the infection and instead progress to the chronic phase of the disease. Parasite persistence during the chronic phase of infection is now considered the main factor contributing to the chronic symptoms of the disease. Based on this finding, containment of parasite growth and survival may be one method to avoid the immunopathology of the chronic phase. In this context, vaccinologists have looked over the past 20 years for other immune effector mechanisms that could eliminate these antibody-resistant pathogens. We and others have tested the hypothesis that non-antibody-mediated cellular immune responses (CD4+ Th1 and CD8+ Tc1 cells) to specific parasite antigens/genes expressed by T. cruzi could indeed be used for the purpose of vaccination. This hypothesis was confirmed in different mouse models, indicating a possible path for vaccine development.
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ABSTRACT: In the past ten years, studies have shown the recognition of Trypanosoma cruzi-associated molecular patterns by members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family and demonstrated the crucial participation of different TLRs during the experimental infection with this parasite. In the present review, we will focus on the role of TLR-activated pathways in the modulation of both innate and acquired immune responses to T. cruzi infection, as well as discuss the state of the art of vaccine research and development against the causative agent of Chagas disease (or American trypanosomiasis).Journal of Parasitology Research 01/2012; 2012:507874.
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ABSTRACT: Chagas' disease is a major public health problem affecting nearly 10 million in Latin America. Despite several experimental vaccines have shown to be immunogenic and protective in mouse models, there is not a current vaccine being licensed for humans or in clinical trial against T. cruzi infection. Towards this goal, we used the backbone of Yellow Fever (YF) 17D virus, one of the most effective and well-established human vaccines, to express an immunogenic fragment derived from T. cruzi Amastigote Surface Protein 2 (ASP-2). The cDNA sequence of an ASP-2 fragment was inserted between E and NS1 genes of YF 17D virus through the construction of a recombinant heterologous cassette. The replication ability and genetic stability of recombinant YF virus (YF17D/ENS1/Tc) was confirmed for at least six passages in Vero cells. Immunogenicity studies showed that YF17D/ENS1/Tc virus elicited neutralizing antibodies and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) producing-cells against the YF virus. Also, it was able to prime a CD8(+) T cell directed against the transgenic T. cruzi epitope (TEWETGQI) which expanded significantly as measured by T cell-specific production of IFN-γ before and after T. cruzi challenge. However, most important for the purposes of vaccine development was the fact that a more efficient protective response could be seen in mice challenged after vaccination with the YF viral formulation consisting of YF17D/ENS1/Tc and a YF17D recombinant virus expressing the TEWETGQI epitope at the NS2B-3 junction. The superior protective immunity observed might be due to an earlier priming of epitope-specific IFN-γ-producing T CD8(+) cells induced by vaccination with this viral formulation. Our results suggest that the use of viral formulations consisting of a mixture of recombinant YF 17D viruses may be a promising strategy to elicit protective immune responses against pathogens, in general.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(3):e59347. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi calreticulin (TcCRT) is a virulence factor that binds complement C1, thus inhibiting the activation of the classical complement pathway and generating pro-phagocytic signals that increase parasite infectivity. In a previous work, we characterized a clonal cell line lacking one TcCRT allele (TcCRT+/-) and another overexpressing it (TcCRT+), both derived from the attenuated TCC T. cruzi strain. The TcCRT+/- mutant was highly susceptible to killing by the complement machinery and presented a remarkable reduced propagation and differentiation rate both in vitro and in vivo. In this report, we have extended these studies to assess, in a mouse model of disease, the virulence, immunogenicity and safety of the mutant as an experimental vaccine. Balb/c mice were inoculated with TcCRT+/- parasites and followed-up during a 6-month period. Mutant parasites were not detected by sensitive techniques, even after mice immune suppression. Total anti-T. cruzi IgG levels were undetectable in TcCRT+/- inoculated mice and the genetic alteration was stable after long-term infection and it did not revert back to wild type form. Most importantly, immunization with TcCRT+/- parasites induces a highly protective response after challenge with a virulent T. cruzi strain, as evidenced by lower parasite density, mortality, spleen index and tissue inflammatory response. TcCRT+/- clones are restricted in two important properties conferred by TcCRT and indirectly by C1q: their ability to evade the host immune response and their virulence. Therefore, deletion of one copy of the TcCRT gene in the attenuated TCC strain generated a safe and irreversibly gene-deleted live attenuated parasite with high immunoprotective properties. Our results also contribute to endorse the important role of TcCRT as a T. cruzi virulence factor.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 02/2014; 8(2):e2696. · 4.57 Impact Factor