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APMIS : acta pathologica, microbiologica, et immunologica Scandinavica

Protection against genital tract Chlamydia trachomatis infection following intranasal immunization with a novel recombinant MOMP VS2/4 antigen.


PMID 27859689

Abstract

The asymptomatic nature of most Chlamydia trachomatis infections and the lack of appropriate effects by current prevention and management call for vaccine development. We evaluated a recombinant subunit vaccine candidate based on the major outer membrane protein variable segments 2 and 4 (MOMP VS2/4). To achieve maximal immunogenicity and ease of production and purification, MOMP VS2/4 was constructed by using highly immunogenic sequences of MOMP only, thereby minimizing the presence of hydrophobic regions, and spacing the immunogenic epitopes with a flexible amino acid sequence. A purification tag was also added. The MOMP VS2/4 was given intranasally, with or without intravaginal boost, with cholera toxin (CT) adjuvant to C57BL/6 mice, which were screened for immunogenicity and protection against a live challenge infection with C.xa0trachomatis serovar D. Bacterial shedding, cell-mediated responses, and antibody responses were monitored. Immunized mice exhibited significantly less bacterial shedding and were better protected against infertility as compared to unimmunized control mice. Immunizations stimulated both systemic and local specific antibody (IgG1, IgG2c, and IgA) responses, and primed T cells that produced interferon-γ and interleukins 13 and 17 upon challenge with recall antigen. Thus, MOMP VS2/4, in combination with CT adjuvant, stimulated Th1, Th2, and Th17 effector cells, and generated protective immunity associated with less pathology. We regard MOMP VS2/4 as a promising candidate for further development into a mucosal chlamydial vaccine.