BMC immunology

Soluble RANKL expression in Lactococcus lactis and investigation of its potential as an oral vaccine adjuvant.

PMID 26608025


To initiate mucosal immune responses, antigens in the intestinal lumen must be transported into gut-associated lymphoid tissue through M cells. Recently, it has been increasingly recognized that receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL) controls M cell differentiation by interacting with RANK expressed on the sub-epithelium of Peyer's patches. In this study, we increased the number of M cells using soluble RANKL (sRANKL) as a potent mucosal adjuvant. For efficient oral delivery of sRANKL, we constructed recombinant Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis) IL1403 secreting sRANKL (sRANKL-LAB). The biological activity of recombinant sRANKL was confirmed by observing RANK-RANKL signaling in vitro. M cell development in response to oral administration of recombinant L. lactis was determined by 1.51-fold higher immunohistochemical expression of M cell marker GP-2, compared to that of non-treatment group. In addition, an adjuvant effect of sRANKL was examined by immunization of mice with M-BmpB as a model antigen after treatment with sRANKL-LAB. Compared with the wild-type L. lactis group, the sRANKL-LAB group showed significantly increased systemic and mucosal immune responses specific to M-BmpB. Our results show that the M cell development by sRANKL-LAB can increase the antigen transcytotic capability of follicle-associated epithelium, and thereby enhance the mucosal immune response, which implies that oral administration of sRANKL is a promising adjuvant strategy for efficient oral vaccination.