ABSTRACT: Current vaccines used for the prevention of brucellosis are ineffective in inducing protective immunity in animals that are chronically infected with Brucella abortus, such as elk. Using a gene discovery approach, in vivo-induced antigen technology (IVIAT) on B. abortus, we previously identified ten loci that encode products up-regulated during infection in elk and consequently may play a role in virulence. In our present study, five of the loci (D15, 0187, VirJ, Mdh, AfuA) were selected for further characterization and compared with three additional antigens with virulence potential (Hia, PrpA, MltA). All eight genes were PCR-amplified from B. abortus and cloned into E. coli. The recombinant products were then expressed, purified, adjuvanted, and delivered subcutaneously to BALB/c mice. After primary immunization and two boosts, mice were challenged i.p. with 5 x 10⁴ CFU of B. abortus strain 19. Spleens from challenged animals were harvested and bacterial loads determined by colony count at various time points. While vaccination with four of the eight individual proteins appeared to have some effect on clearance kinetics, mice vaccinated with recombinant Mdh displayed the most significant reduction in bacterial colonization. Furthermore, mice immunized with Mdh maintained higher levels of IFN-γ in spleens compared to other treatment groups. Collectively, our in vivo data gathered from the S19 murine colonization model suggest that vaccination with at least three of the IVIAT antigens conferred an enhanced ability of the host to respond to infection, reinforcing the utility of this methodology for the identification of potential vaccine candidates against brucellosis. Mechanisms for immunity to one protein, Mdh, require further in vitro exploration and evaluation against wild-type B. abortus challenge in mice, as well as other hosts. Additional studies are being undertaken to clarify the role of Mdh and other IVI antigens in B. abortus virulence and induction of protective immunity.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e17425. · 4.09 Impact Factor