Tahereh Taheri

Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI), Teheran, Tehrān, Iran

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Publications (13)33.65 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Novel vaccination approaches are needed to prevent leishmaniasis. Live attenuated vaccines are the gold standard for protection against intracellular pathogens such as Leishmania and there have been new developments in this field. The nonpathogenic to humans lizard protozoan parasite, Leishmania (L) tarentolae, has been used effectively as a vaccine platform against visceral leishmaniasis in experimental animal models. Correspondingly, pre-exposure to sand fly saliva or immunization with a salivary protein has been shown to protect mice against cutaneous leishmaniasis. Here, we tested the efficacy of a novel combination of established protective parasite antigens expressed by L. tarentolae together with a sand fly salivary antigen as a vaccine strategy against L. major infection. The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of different DNA/Live and Live/Live prime-boost vaccination modalities with live recombinant L. tarentolae stably expressing cysteine proteinases (type I and II, CPA/CPB) and PpSP15, an immunogenic salivary protein from Phlebotomus papatasi, a natural vector of L. major, were tested both in susceptible BALB/c and resistant C57BL/6 mice. Both humoral and cellular immune responses were assessed before challenge and at 3 and 10 weeks after Leishmania infection. In both strains of mice, the strongest protective effect was observed when priming with PpSP15 DNA and boosting with PpSP15 DNA and live recombinant L. tarentolae stably expressing cysteine proteinase genes. The present study is the first to use a combination of recombinant L. tarentolae with a sand fly salivary antigen (PpSP15) and represents a novel promising vaccination approach against leishmaniasis.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 03/2014; 8(3):e2751. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There are several reports demonstrating the role of CD8 T cells against Leishmania species. Therefore peptide vaccine might represent an effective approach to control the infection. We developed a rational polytope-DNA construct encoding immunogenic HLA-A2 restricted peptides and validated the processing and presentation of encoded epitopes in a preclinical mouse model humanized for the MHC-class-I and II.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(10):e108848. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The attenuated or non-pathogenic live vectors have been evolved specifically to deliver DNA into cells as efficient delivery tools in gene therapy. Recently, a non-pathogenic protozoan, Leishmania tarentolae (L.tar) has attracted a great attention. In current study, we used Leishmania expression system (LEXSY) for stable expression of HPV16 E7 linked to different mini-chaperones [N-/C-terminal of gp96] and compared their immunogenicity and protective effects in C57BL/6 mice against TC-1 challenge. TC-1 murine model is primary C57BL/6 mice lung epithelial cells co-transformed with HPV16 E6, HPV16 E7 and ras oncogenes. Our results showed that subcutaneous administration of mice with both the recombinant L.tar-E7-NT (gp96) and L.tar-E7-CT (gp96) led to enhance the levels of IFN-γ and also IgG2a before and after challenge with TC-1. Furthermore, L.tar-E7-CT (gp96) live vaccine indicated significant protective effects as compared to control groups as well as group vaccinated with L.tar-E7. Indeed, the recombinant live vector is capable of eliciting effective humoral and cellular immune responses in mice, but however, further studies are required to increase their efficacy.
    Drug Delivery 06/2013; · 2.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a vector-borne disease affecting humans and domestic animals that constitutes a serious public health problem in many countries. Although many antigens have been examined so far as protein- or DNA-based vaccines, none of them conferred complete long-term protection. The use of the lizard non-pathogenic to humans Leishmania (L.) tarentolae species as a live vaccine vector to deliver specific Leishmania antigens is a recent approach that needs to be explored further. In this study, we evaluated the effectiveness of live vaccination in protecting BALB/c mice against L. infantum infection using prime-boost regimens, namely Live/Live and DNA/Live. As a live vaccine, we used recombinant L. tarentolae expressing the L. donovani A2 antigen along with cysteine proteinases (CPA and CPB without its unusual C-terminal extension (CPB(-CTE))) as a tri-fusion gene. For DNA priming, the tri-fusion gene was encoded in pcDNA formulated with cationic solid lipid nanoparticles (cSLN) acting as an adjuvant. At different time points post-challenge, parasite burden and histopathological changes as well as humoral and cellular immune responses were assessed. Our results showed that immunization with both prime-boost A2-CPA-CPB(-CTE)-recombinant L. tarentolae protects BALB/c mice against L. infantum challenge. This protective immunity is associated with a Th1-type immune response due to high levels of IFN-γ production prior and after challenge and with lower levels of IL-10 production after challenge, leading to a significantly higher IFN-γ/IL-10 ratio compared to the control groups. Moreover, this immunization elicited high IgG1 and IgG2a humoral immune responses. Protection in mice was also correlated with a high nitric oxide production and low parasite burden. Altogether, these results indicate the promise of the A2-CPA-CPB(-CTE)-recombinant L. tarentolae as a safe live vaccine candidate against VL.
    PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 04/2013; 7(4):e2174. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Cervical cancer, the third most prevalent cause of cancer in women worldwide, is associated with HPVs. The critical role of E7 protein in HPV-related malignancies has designated it as a strong contender for generating vaccines against HPV. Materials & methods: In this study, we developed a novel live vaccine using recombinant Leishmania tarentolae expressing E7-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein for the protection of mice against HPV-associated tumors. In order to transfect L. tarentolae with E7-GFP fusion construct, pLEXSY-neo2 system was applied. Followed by PCR, fluorescence imaging and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis, integration of E7-GFP gene into parasites genome was confirmed. A comparative study of six groups of C57BL/6 mice was performed to analyze antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses against E7 encoding live and DNA vaccines. Furthermore, the anti-tumor protective effect of L. tarentolae-E7-GFP was compared to other vaccination strategies, namely pcDNA-E7 as the DNA vaccine and pcDNA-E7/L. tarentolae-E7-GFP as the prime-boost regimen. Results: We found that E7-GFP expressing recombinant L. tarentolae induces significant levels of IgG2a and IFN-γ, while there is no significant IL-5 production compared with that of other strategies and control groups before and after challenge with TC-1 tumor cells. It is noteworthy that the designed live vaccine showed the best protection and minimum tumor size among all groups against TC-1-induced tumors. Conclusion: Overall, the results obtained revealed that the E7-GFP recombinant L. tarentolae could be a potential live vaccine for induction of immune responses in vivo.
    Immunotherapy 11/2012; 4(11):1107-20. · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reporter genes have proved to be an excellent tool for studying disease progression. Recently, the green fluorescent protein (GFP) ability to quantitatively monitor gene expression has been demonstrated in different organisms. This report describes the use of Leishmania tarentolae (L. tarentolae) expression system (LEXSY) for high and stable levels of GFP production in different Leishmania species including L. tarentolae, L. major and L. infantum. The DNA expression cassette (pLEXSY-EGFP) was integrated into the chromosomal ssu locus of Leishmania strains through homologous recombination. Fluorescent microscopic image showed that GFP transgenes can be abundantly and stably expressed in promastigote and amastigote stages of parasites. Furthermore, flow cytometry analysis indicated a clear quantitative distinction between wild type and transgenic Leishmania strains at both promastigote and amastigote forms. Our data showed that the footpad lesions with GFP-transfected L. major are progressive over time by using fluorescence small-animal imaging system. Consequently, the utilization of stable GFP-transfected Leishmania species will be appropriate for in vitro and in vivo screening of anti-leishmanial drugs and vaccine development as well as understanding the biology of the host-parasite interactions at the cellular level.
    Experimental Parasitology 03/2011; 127(3):637-45. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Several species of protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania are pathogenic to mammals and cause a wide spectrum of pathologies in human. However, the genus includes some species which infect reptiles. Leishmania tarentolae is a lizard pathogen absolutely nonpathogenic to mammals. Recent studies have shown that among some major virulence factors, A2 is absent in this species. First identified as an amastigote-specific gene in Leishmania donovani, A2 has been proved to play a major role in parasite virulence and visceralization capability. In this study, we have transfected A2 episomally into L. tarentolae and evaluated its effect on infectivity and survival of the parasites, in vitro and in vivo. During infection of in vitro-cultured intraperitoneal macrophages of BALB/c mice, A2-expressing L. tarentolae parasites demonstrated significantly higher level of infectivity in days 3 and 4 post-infection in comparison with the wild-type strain as control. Furthermore, in vivo infection showed that A2 has significantly increased the ability of L. tarentolae to survive in the liver of BALB/c mice. Altogether, our results show that A2 is functional in L. tarentolae, although through an unknown mechanism, and loss of A2 has been one of the factors partly contributing to the loss of virulence of L. tarentolae.
    Parasitology Research 03/2011; 109(3):793-9. · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Biochemistry - CLIN BIOCHEM. 01/2011; 44(13).
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    ABSTRACT: Leishmania major (L. major) signal peptidase type I (SPase I) is an endopeptidase encoded by a single-copy gene. In all organisms, SPase I is responsible for removing the signal peptide from secretory pre-proteins and releasing mature proteins to cellular or extra-cellular space. In this study, the role of SPase I in L. major is investigated by gene deletion using homologous recombination (HR). The null mutant of SPase I was not possible to create, suggesting that SPase I is an essential gene for parasite survival. The obtained heterozygote mutant by disrupting one allele of SPase I in L. major showed significantly reduced level of infectivity in bone marrow-derived macrophages. In addition, the heterozygote mutants are unable to cause cutaneous lesion in susceptible BALB/c mice. This is the first report showing that SPase I may have an important role in Leishmania infectivity, e.g. in differentiation and survival of amastigotes. Apparently, the SPase I expression is not essential for in vitro growth of the parasite.
    Experimental Parasitology 10/2010; 126(2):135-45. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Visceral leishmaniasis is the most severe form of leishmaniasis. To date, there is no effective vaccine against this disease. Many antigens have been examined so far as protein- or DNA-based vaccines, but none of them conferred complete long-term protection. The use of live attenuated vaccines has recently emerged as a promising vaccination strategy. In this study, we stably expressed the Leishmania donovani A2 antigen in Leishmania tarentolae, a non-pathogenic member of the genus Leishmania, and evaluated its protective efficacy as a live vaccine against L. infantum challenge. Our results show that a single intraperitoneal administration of the A2-recombinant L. tarentolae strain protects BALB/c mice against L. infantum challenge and that protective immunity is associated with high levels of IFN-gamma production prior and after challenge. This is accompanied by reduced levels of IL-5 production after challenge, leading to a potent Th1 immune response. In contrast, intravenous injection elicited a Th2 type response, characterized by higher levels of IL-5 and high humoral immune response, resulting in a less efficient protection. All together, these results indicate the promise of A2-expressing L. tarentolae as a safe live vaccine against visceral leishmaniasis.
    Vaccine 10/2009; 28(1):53-62. · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of current study are to describe the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of prime boost vaccine using C-terminal extension (CTE) of cysteine proteinase type I of Leishmania infantum in BALB/c mice. Group I as vaccinated group primed with 100 microg of pcDNA-CTE and 3 weeks later boosted with combination of 30 microg rCTE, 50 microg of CpG and Montanide 720. Groups II and III were served as control groups. Although, this vaccination regimen did not protect mice against the infectious challenge but it was highly immunogenic. IgG2a has been raised strongly against rCTE in contrast to IgG1 and remains high at every time point under study. By analysis of CTE synthetic peptides (CTE100) before challenge, both IgG1 and IgG2a were produced and for all overlapping synthetic peptides (CTE 1-8) IgG1 raised significantly. This statue is changed at 7 weeks after challenge and only CTE2 and CTE3 have shown to induce considerable amount of IgG1. In all groups, the level of IL-5 started to increase with high concentration shortly passing only 3 weeks after infectious challenge. In compare with two control groups, the vaccinated group produced significantly higher level of IL-5 at 7 weeks post-infection. The parasite burden of all groups is similar at 4 weeks post-challenge in both liver and spleen. In contrast, at 8 weeks post challenge, the spleen of the vaccinated group showed significantly higher level of parasite load in compare with two control groups. This study demonstrated that immunization with CTE display both type 1 and 2 immune signatures in experimental murine model of L. infantum infection.
    Experimental Parasitology 04/2008; 118(3):393-401. · 2.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heat shock proteins (HSP) are highly conserved molecules that play important roles in protein folding, assembly of protein complexes and translocation of proteins across cellular compartments, as well as in several immunological processes. In this study, we first immunized susceptible BALB/c and resistant C57BL/6 mice with the complete open-reading frame of Leishmania HSP-70 (pcDNA-HSP70) and boosted mice with rHSP-70 (amino acid 221-604 cloned in pQE-HSP70 and referred to as rHSP70) mixed with Montanide 720. When we evaluated the effects of HSP70 in both mouse strains, we found that the entire fragment (amino acids 221-604) and rCT-HSP70 (amino acids 491-604 cloned in pQE-CT), but not rNT-HSP70 (amino acids 221-291 cloned pQE-NT), contained the highest immunogenicity. However, after infectious challenge with Leishmania major, no efficient protective responses were observed in either mouse strain. The humoral immune responses against the different truncated forms of HSP70 suggested a mixed TH1/TH2 response in vivo. We then assessed infected susceptible and resistant mice for lymphoproliferative and cytokine responses against the truncated forms of HSP70. At 9-week post-infection, we observed no differences in those responses between vaccinated and control mice. Next, we initiated comparative studies in human patient samples, finding no significant proliferation against all three truncated forms of HSP70 in the cellular immune responses of 16 cured cutaneous leishmaniasis patients and 5 normal individuals. Sera from active cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis patients, however, were reactive to all three forms of HSP70. This study demonstrates the potential of HSP70 in stimulating humoral responses in humans and mice and indicates there is a need to further explore and examine the value of this important molecule in the control of leishmaniasis.
    Vaccine 05/2007; 25(21):4159-69. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cysteine proteinases (CPs) of Leishmania are consid-ered to be attractive vaccine candidate in which their immunogenicity and immuno-modulatory effects have been confirmed. We have previously reported that a cocktail of two DNA plasmids encoding Leishmania major cysteine proteinases type I (CPB) and type II (CPA) induces a partial protective response in murine model of cutaneous leishmaniasis. The results also showed that the induced protective response was bet-ter than the responses given by each one the plasmids alone. However, in view of the capability of DNA plas-mid for encoding several antigens, we investigated the possibility of using a single bivalent DNA vaccine, based on CP genes as an alternative mean of inducing protective immunity. Here we present evidence favor-ing that CPA and CPB delivered in the same plasmid DNA backbone either in separate locus or as a tandem fused gene induce partial protection against Leishmania major infection in susceptible BALB/c mice. Immunization of mice with these constructs pro-moted specific T-cell response of Th1 phenotype that is characterized by an increase in production of IFN-γ. Our results confirm the previous observation about the possibility of DNA immunization against leishmaniasis using CP genes and lend support to the idea of using a single polyvalent plasmid DNA construct to elicit immune responses to several distinct antigens.