BACKGROUND: Current influenza vaccines need to be annually reformulated to well match the predicated circulating strains. Thus, it is critical for developing a novel universal influenza vaccine that would be able to confer cross-protection against constantly emerging divergent influenza virus strains. Influenza virus A is a genus of the Orthomyxoviridae family of viruses. Influenza virus nucleoprotein (NP) is a structural protein which encapsidates the negative strand viral RNA, and anti-NP antibodies play role in cross-protective immunity. Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis) is an ideal vaccine delivery vehicle via oral administration route. However, L. lactis vectored vaccine exhibits poor immunogenicity without the use of mucosal adjuvant. To enhance the immunogenicity of L. lactis vectored vaccine, cholera toxin B (CTB) subunit, one of mucosal adjuvants, is a safe adjuvant for oral route, when combined with L. lactis vectored vaccine. In this study, we hypothesized that pNZ8008, a L. lactis expression plasmid, encoding NP antigen, would be able to elicit cross-protection with the use of CTB via oral administration route.<br /><br />RESULTS: To construct L. lactis vectored vaccine, nucleoprotein (NP) gene of A/California/04/2009(H1N1) was sub-cloned into a L. lactis expression plasmid, pNZ8008. The expression of recombinant L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP was confirmed by Western blot, immunofluorescence assay and flow cytometric analysis. Further, immunogenicity of L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP alone or adjuvanted with cholera toxin B (CTB) subunit was evaluated in a mouse model via oral administration route. Antibodies responses were detected by ELISA. The result indicated that oral administration of L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP adjuvanted with CTB could elicit significant humoral and mucosal immune responses, as well as cellular immune response, compared with L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP alone. To further assess the cross-protective immunity of L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP adjuvanted with CTB, we used L. lactis/pNZ8110-pgsA-HA1 alone or adjuvanted with CTB as controls. Mice that received L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP adjuvanted with CTB were completely protected from homologous H1N1 virus and showed 80% protection against heterologous H3N2 or H5N1 virus, respectively. By contrast, L. lactis/pNZ8110-pgsA-HA1 adjuvanted with CTB also conferred 100% protection against H5N1 virus infection, but indicated no cross-protection against H1N1 or H5N1 virus challenge. As controls, mice vaccinated orally with L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP alone or L. lactis/pNZ8110-pgsA-HA1 alone could not survive.<br /><br />CONCLUSION: This study is the first to report the construction of recombinant L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP and investigate its immunogenicity with the use of CTB. Compared with L. lactis/pNZ8110-pgsA-HA1 adjuvanted with CTB, our data support 5 × 10(11) CFU of L. lactis/pNZ8008-NP adjuvanted with 1 µg of CTB is a better combination for universal influenza vaccines development that would provide cross-protective immunity against divergent influenza A viruses.
Lei, H., Peng, X., Jiao, H., Zhao, D., & Ouyang, J. (2015). Broadly protective immunity against divergent influenza viruses by oral co-administration of Lactococcus lactis expressing nucleoprotein adjuvanted with cholera toxin B subunit in mice. Microbial Cell Factories, 14(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12934-015-0287-4