Chlamydia trachomatis imposes serious health problems and causes infertility. Because of asymptomatic onset, it often escapes antibiotic treatment. Therefore, vaccines offer a better option for the prevention of unwanted inflammatory sequelae. The existence of serologically distinct serovars of C. trachomatis suggests that a vaccine will need to provide protection against multiple serovars. Chlamydia spp. use a highly conserved type III secretion system (T3SS) composed of structural and effector proteins which is an essential virulence factor. In this study, we expressed the T3SS needle protein of Chlamydia muridarum, TC-0037, an ortholog of C. trachomatis CdsF, in a replication-defective adenoviral vector (AdTC-0037) and evaluated its protective efficacy in an intravaginal Chlamydia muridarum model. For better immune responses, we employed a heterologous prime-boost immunization protocol in which mice were intranasally primed with AdTC-0037 and subcutaneously boosted with recombinant TC-0037 and Toll-like receptor 4 agonist monophosphoryl lipid A mixed in a squalene nanoscale emulsion. We found that immunization with TC-0037 antigen induced specific humoral and T cell responses, decreased Chlamydia loads in the genital tract, and abrogated pathology of upper genital organs. Together, our results suggest that TC-0037, a highly conserved chlamydial T3SS protein, is a good candidate for inclusion in a Chlamydia vaccine.
Koroleva, E. A., Kobets, N. V., Shcherbinin, D. N., Zigangirova, N. A., Shmarov, M. M., Tukhvatulin, A. I., … Gintsburg, A. L. (2017). Chlamydial Type III Secretion System Needle Protein Induces Protective Immunity against Chlamydia muridarum Intravaginal Infection. BioMed Research International, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/3865802