Chlamydia trachomatis is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection affecting millions of people worldwide. Previous vaccination attempts have employed the recombinant major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of C. trachomatis nonetheless, with limited success, perhaps, due to stability, degradation, and delivery issues. In this study we cloned C. trachomatis recombinant MOMP DNA (DMOMP) and encapsulated it in chitosan nanoparticles (DMCNP) using the complex coacervation technique. Physiochemical characterizations of DMCNP included transmission and scanning electron microcopy, Fourier transform infrared and ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and zeta potential. Encapsulated DMOMP was 167-250 nm, with a uniform spherical shape and homogenous morphology, and an encapsulation efficiency > 90%. A slow release pattern of encapsulated DMOMP, especially in acidic solution, was observed over 7 days. The zeta potential of DMCNP was ~8.80 mV, which indicated that it was highly stable. Toxicity studies of DMCNP (25-400 μg/mL) to Cos-7 cells using the MTT assay revealed minimal toxicity over 24-72 hours with >90% viable cells. Ultra-violet visible (UV-vis) spectra indicated encapsulated DMOMP protection by chitosan, whereas agarose gel electrophoresis verified its protection from enzymatic degradation. Expression of MOMP protein in DMCNP-transfected Cos-7 cells was demonstrated via Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. Significantly, intramuscular injection of BALB/c mice with DMCNP confirmed the delivery of encapsulated DMOMP, and expression of the MOMP gene transcript in thigh muscles and spleens. Our data show that encapsulation of DMOMP in biodegradable chitosan nanoparticles imparts stability and protection from enzymatic digestion, and enhances delivery and expression of DMOMP in vitro and in mice. Further investigations of the nanoencapsulated DMCNP vaccine formulation against C. trachomatis in mice are warranted. © 2013 Cambridge et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.
Cambridge, C. D., Singh, S. R., Waffo, A. B., Fairley, S. J., & Dennis, V. A. (2013). Formulation, characterization, and expression of a recombinant MOMP Chlamydia trachomatis DNA vaccine encapsulated in chitosan nanoparticles. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 8, 1759–1771. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S42723