Current microbiology

Immunoproteomic Analysis of Antibody Response of Rabbit Host Against Heat-Killed Francisella tularensis Live Vaccine Strain.

PMID 28233060


Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia, has attained the status of one of the high priority agents that could be used in the act of bioterrorism. Currently, there is no licensed vaccine for this highly infectious intracellular pathogen. Being a listed 'Category A' agent of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines and therapeutics are immediately required against this pathogen. In this study, an immunoproteomic approach based on the techniques of 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) and immunoblotting combined with mass spectrometry (MS) was used for elucidation of immunogenic components and putative vaccine candidates. Whole-cell soluble protein extract of F. tularensis LVS (Ft LVS) was separated by 2DE, and immunoblots were developed with sera raised in rabbit after immunization with heat-killed Ft LVS. A total of 28 immunoreactive proteins were identified by tandem mass spectrometry. Rabbit immunoproteome of F. tularensis was compared with those previously reported using sera from human patients and in murine model. Out of 28 immunoreactive proteins identified in this study, 12 and 17 overlapping proteins were recognized by human and murine sera, respectively. Nine proteins were found immunogenic in all the three hosts, while eight new immunogenic proteins were found in this study. Identified immunoreactive proteins may find application in design and development of protein subunit vaccine for tularemia.