A recombinant multi-epitope peptide vaccine based on MOMP and CPSIT_p6 protein protects against Chlamydia psittaci lung infection
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Chlamydia psittaci is an obligate intracellular pathogen with a broad host range that can lead to severe infectious disease by transferring from birds to humans. Vaccination has been considered the best way to prevent chlamydial infection; nevertheless, there is currently still no commercially available vaccine that can inhibit the spread of C. psittaci. In previous study, major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of C. psittaci was confirmed to be an appropriate candidate antigen for limiting C. psittaci respiratory infections in a murine model, and plasmid-encoded CPSIT_p6 also has functions similar to those of MOMP in our study. Therefore, according to bioinformatics analysis, we developed a recombinant peptide containing multiple antigenic epitopes from MOMP (24–32, 262–272) and CPSIT_p6 protein (109–119, 173–181) and evaluated the efficacy of peptide immunization. BALB/c mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with the recombinant multi-epitope antigens three times at 2-week intervals and subsequently intranasally infected with C. psittaci. We found that the recombinant multi-epitope antigens induced strong humoral and Th1 cellular immune responses by producing meaningfully high levels of antigen-specific antibodies, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), or interleukin-2 (IL-2). Vaccination significantly reduced the bacterial burden and the degree of inflammation in the infected lungs and led to lower levels of IFN-γ and IL-6. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of CD4+ splenocytes harvested from the vaccinated mice produced a significantly lower chlamydial load, indicating the importance of the cellular immune response. Therefore, the recombinant multi-epitope antigens may provide the basis for a new peptide-based vaccine against C. psittaci infection.
KeywordsChlamydia psittaci Epitope Vaccine Major outer membrane protein Chlamydial infection
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81671986, Grant No. 31600150), the Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory for Special Pathogens Prevention and Control Foundation (Grant No. 2014-5), the Hunan Province Cooperative Innovation Center for Molecular Target New Drug Study (Grant No. 2015-351), and the Foundation of the First Hospital of Changsha City (Grant No. Y2018-18).
Compliance with ethical standards
All animal procedures and treatments were approved by the Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee of the University of South China and were performed in accordance with the regulations of the institution.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest
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