Zhuo Zhao

Third Military Medical University, Ch’ung-ch’ing-shih, Chongqing Shi, China

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Publications (8)46.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infects more than half of the world ' s population, causing chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. Urease B subunit (UreB), a conserved protein of H. pylori, is capable of inducing specific CD4+ T-cell responses and provides protection against this infection. Previous studies have confirmed the effectiveness of rUreB subunit vaccines in generating CD4 + T-cell-mediated protection, but less is known regarding the roles of different subtypes of T-cell immunity, such as Th1, Th2 and Th17, particularly the immunodominant epitopes inducing specific CD4 + T-cell responses, in vaccine-mediated protection. In this study, we demonstrated that the vaccination of BALB/c mice with rUreB resulted in significant antigen-specific Th1 and Th17 immune responses. Importantly, two novel Th epitopes, UreB 317-329 and UreB 409-421, which are recognized by a major population of CD4 + T cells, were identified in immunized mice. Our results demonstrated that two novel epitopes can simultaneously induce Th1 and Th17 immune responses; however, only the epitope vaccine-induced CD4 + T-cells secreting IFN-3 mediated the protection against H. pylori; cells secreting IL-17A did not. Taken together, our results suggest that two novel immunodominant epitopes can induce Th1 and Th17 immune responses, but only the induced Th1 lymphocytes mediate protection against H. pylori.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: No vaccine against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been currently approved for use in humans. Staphylococcus enterotoxin B (SEB) is one of the most potent MRSA exotoxins. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy and immunologic mechanisms of an SEB multiple B-cell epitope vaccine against MRSA infection. Synthetic overlapping peptide ELISA identified three novel B-cell immunodominant SEB epitopes (in addition to those previously known): SEB31-48, SEB133-150, and SEB193-210. Six B-cell immunodominant epitopes (amino acid residues 31-48, 97-114, 133-150, 193-210, 205-222, and 247-261) were sufficient to induce robust IgG1/IgG2b-specific protective responses against MRSA infection. Therefore, we constructed a recombinant MRSA SEB-specific multiple B-cell epitope vaccine Polypeptides by combining the six SEB immunodominant epitopes and demonstrated its ability to induce a robust SEB-specific IgG1 response to MRSA, as well as a Th2-directing isotype response. Moreover, Polypeptides-induced antisera stimulated synergetic opsonophagocytosis killing of MRSA. Most importantly, Polypeptides was more effective at clearing the bacteria in MRSA-infected mice than the whole SEB antigen, and was able to successfully protect mice from infection by various clinical MRSA isolates. Altogether, these results support further evaluation of the SEB multiple B-cell epitope-vaccine to address MRSA infection in humans.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is one of the most potent Staphylococcus aureus exotoxins (SEs). Due to its conserved sequence and stable structure, SEB might be a good candidate antigen for MRSA vaccines. Although cellular immune responses to SEB are well-characterized, much less is known regarding SEB-specific humoral immune responses, particularly regarding detailed epitope mapping. In this study, we utilized a recombinant nontoxic mutant of SEB (rSEB) and an AlPO4 adjuvant to immunize BALB/c mice and confirmed that rSEB can induce a high antibody level and effective immune protection against MRSA infection. Next, the antisera of immunized mice were collected, and linear B cell epitopes within SEB were finely mapped using a series of overlapping synthetic peptides. Three immunodominant B cell epitopes of SEB were screened by ELISA, including a novel epitope, SEB205-222, and two known epitopes, SEB97-114 and SEB247-261. Using truncated peptides, an ELISA was performed with peptide-KLH antisera, and the core sequence of the three immunodominant B cell epitopes were verified as SEB97-112, SEB207-222, and SEB247-257. In vitro, all of the immunodominant epitope-specific antisera (anti-SEB97-112, anti-SEB207-222 and anti-SEB247-257) were observed to inhibit SEB-induced T cell mitogenesis and cytokine production from splenic lymphocytes of BALB/c mice. The homology analysis indicated that SEB97-112 and SEB207-222 were well-conserved among different Staphylococcus aureus strains. The 3D crystal structure of SEB indicated that SEB97-112 was in the loop region inside SEB, whereas SEB207-222 and SEB247-257 were in the β-slice region outside SEB. In summary, the fine-mapping of linear B-cell epitopes of the SEB antigen in this study will be useful to understand anti-SEB immunity against MRSA infection further and will be helpful to optimize MRSA vaccine designs that are based on the SEB antigen.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Background & aims: Immunodominance is an important feature of antiviral, antitumor, and antibacterial cellular immune responses, but it is not well demonstrated in the immune responses against Helicobacter pylori. Antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells protect mice against infection with H pylori. We investigated the immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell response to neuraminyllactose-binding hemagglutinin (HpaA), which is a conserved, H pylori-specific colonization factor that is being investigated as an antigen for vaccination strategies. Methods: HpaA-specific CD4(+) T cells were expanded with autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells that had been incubated with recombinant HpaA and characterized using overlapping synthetic peptides. We compared the percentage of CD4(+) T cells with specificity for HpaA(88-100), restricted to HLA-DRB1*1501, among 59 H pylori-infected subjects with different gastric diseases. Results: We identified and characterized several immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell epitopes derived from HpaA. The immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell responses specific to HpaA(88-100) were observed in most H pylori-infected individuals who expressed HLA-DRB1*1501 and were significantly more abundant in patients with less severe diseases (P < .05). Conclusions: The HLA-DRB1*1501-restricted immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell response to HpaA(88-100) is associated with reduced risk of severe gastric diseases. Further study of these and other immunodominant CD4(+) T-cell responses to H pylori will provide insight into mechanisms of protective immunity and aid in vaccine design.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Gastroenterology
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    ABSTRACT: Vaccine-mediated Th1-biased CD4+ T cell responses have been shown to be crucial for protection against Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). In this study, we investigated whether a vaccine composed of CD4+ T cell epitopes together with Th1 adjuvants could confer protection against H. pylori in a mouse model. We constructed an epitope-based vaccine, designated Epivac, which is composed of predicted immunodominant CD4+ T cell epitopes from H. pylori adhesin A (HpaA), urease B (UreB) and cytotoxin-associated gene A product (CagA). Together with four different Th1 adjuvants, Epivac was administered subcutaneously and the prophylactic potential was examined. Compared to non-immunized mice, immunization with Epivac alone or with a Th1 adjuvant significantly reduced H. pylori colonization, and better protection was observed when an adjuvant was used. Immunized mice exhibited a strong local and systemic Th1-biased immune response, which may contribute to the inhibition of H. pylori colonization. Though a significant specific antibody response was induced by the vaccine, no correlation was found between the intensity of the humoral response and the protective effect. Our results suggest that a vaccine containing CD4+ T cell epitopes is a promising candidate for protection against H. pylori infection.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic vaccination is a desirable alternative for controlling Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. In the present study, attenuated Salmonella vector vaccines were constructed that expressed fusion proteins complexed with H. pylori CagA, VacA and UreB in different arrangements, and their therapeutic efficacy was evaluated in H. pylori-infected mice. Oral therapeutic immunization with attenuated Salmonella, which expressed the fused protein CVU, significantly decreased H. pylori colonization in the stomach; protection was related to specific CD4(+) T cell Th1 type responses and serum IgG and mucosal sIgA antibody responses. These findings suggested that therapeutic efficacy was related to the arrangement of the fusion protein. It is possible that arrangement decides the expression of recombinant antigen in mice, and the latter results in different therapeutic efficacy. The attenuated Salmonella vector vaccine, which expressed the fused protein arrangement CVU, is superior to others, and could be a candidate vaccine against H. pylori.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Vaccine
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    ABSTRACT: Th17 cells represent a novel subset of CD4(+) T cells, which is associated with Helicobacter pylori infection. In the present study, we investigated the potential role of Urease subunit B (UreB) in the induction of Th17 cell response. Co-cultured splenic lymphocytes from H. pylori-infected mice with the recombinant UreB (rUreB) elevated IL-17 secretion and caused an increase in the number of Th17 cells. The expression of IL-6 and IL-23 p19 was significantly increased in rUreB-stimulated macrophages. Whole cell protein (WCP) of UreB-deficient strain (UreB(-) strain) induced less Th17 cell responses than that of wild-type strain. In addition, subcutaneous and intranasal immunization of rUreB elicited antigen-specific Th17 cell responses. Intranasal immunization of rUreB reduced H. pylori colonization in the stomach, which was closely related with the increased rUreB-specific Th17 cell responses. These results suggest that UreB is an important protein which is able to elicit Th17 cell responses against H. pylori both in vivo and in vitro.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2010 · Immunobiology
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    ABSTRACT: CD4(+) T cell responses are critical for the pathogenesis of Helicobacter pylori infection. The present study evaluated the role of the Th17 subset in H. pylori infection. H. pylori infection induced significant expression of IL-17 and IFN-gamma in mouse gastric tissue. IL-23 and IL-12 were increased in the gastric tissue and in H. pylori-stimulated macrophages. Cell responses were examined by intracellular staining for IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-17. Mice infected with H. pylori developed a mixed Th17/Th1 response; Th17 responses preceded Th1 responses. Treatment of mice with an anti-IL-17 Ab but not a control Ab significantly reduced the H. pylori burden and inflammation in the stomach. H. pylori colonization and gastric inflammation were also lower in IL-17(-/-) mice. Furthermore, administration of recombinant adenovirus encoding mouse IL-17 increased both H. pylori load and inflammation. Further analysis showed that the Th1 cell responses to H. pylori were downregulated when IL-17 is deficient. These results together suggest that H. pylori infection induces a mixed Th17/Th1 cell response and the Th17/IL-17 pathway modulates Th1 cell responses and contributes to pathology.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · The Journal of Immunology