Veterinary immunology and immunopathology

Vaccination of cattle with a methanogen protein produces specific antibodies in the saliva which are stable in the rumen.

PMID 25782351


Methane is produced in the rumen of cattle by a group of archaea (single-celled organisms forming a domain distinct from bacteria and eucarya) called methanogens. Vaccination against methanogens has the potential to reduce methane emissions by inducing antibodies in saliva which are transferred to the rumen and diminish the ability of methanogens to produce methane. Since it is likely that an effective vaccination strategy will need to produce high levels of methanogen-specific antibody in the saliva; the choice of adjuvant, route of vaccination and stability of saliva-derived antibody in the rumen all need to be considered. In this study, stability of IgA and IgG in rumen fluid was determined using an in vitro assay. IgA levels in cattle saliva were reduced by only 40% after 8h exposure to rumen contents while IgG levels were reduced by 80%. These results indicated that antibody is relatively stable in the bovine rumen. A trial was conducted in cattle to investigate induction of immune responses to a methanogen protein, recombinant glycosyl transferase protein (rGT2) from Methanobrevibacter ruminantium M1. Groups of cattle (n=6) were vaccinated subcutaneously with rGT2, formulated with Montanide ISA61 with or without the TLR4 agonist, monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL). A control group (n=6) was not vaccinated. Strong antigen-specific IgG and moderate IgA responses were measured in the serum and saliva of the vaccinated animals and antibody was also detected in the rumen.