Protective immunity against respiratory tract challenge with Yersinia pestis in mice immunized with an adenovirus-based vaccine vector expressing V antigen.
Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
The aerosol form of the bacterium Yersinia pestis causes the pneumonic plague, a rapidly fatal disease. At present, no plague vaccines are available for use in the United States. One candidate for the development of a subunit vaccine is the Y. pestis virulence (V) antigen, a protein that mediates the function of the Yersinia outer protein virulence factors and suppresses inflammatory responses in the host. On the basis of the knowledge that adenovirus (Ad) gene-transfer vectors act as adjuvants in eliciting host immunity against the transgene they carry, we tested the hypothesis that a single administration of a replication-defective Ad gene-transfer vector encoding the Y. pestis V antigen (AdsecV) could stimulate strong protective immune responses without a requirement for repeat administration. AdsecV elicited specific T cell responses and high IgG titers in serum within 2 weeks after a single intramuscular immunization. Importantly, the mice were protected from a lethal intranasal challenge of Y. pestis CO92 from 4 weeks up to 6 months after immunization with a single intramuscular dose of AdsecV. These observations suggest that an Ad gene-transfer vector expressing V antigen is a candidate for development of an effective anti-plague vaccine.