BACKGROUND: Currently, sufficient data exist to support the use of lactobacilli as candidates for the development of new oral targeted vaccines. To this end, we have previously shown that Lactobacillus gasseri expressing the protective antigen (PA) component of anthrax toxin genetically fused to a dendritic cell (DC)-binding peptide (DCpep) induced efficacious humoral and T cell-mediated immune responses against Bacillus anthracis Sterne challenge.<br /><br />METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: In the present study, we investigated the effects of a dose dependent treatment of mice with L. gasseri expressing the PA-DCpep fusion protein on intestinal and systemic immune responses and confirmed its safety. Treatment of mice with different doses of L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep stimulated colonic immune responses, resulting in the activation of innate immune cells, including dendritic cells, which induced robust Th1, Th17, CD4(+)Foxp3(+) and CD8(+)Foxp3(+) T cell immune responses. Notably, high doses of L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep (10(12) CFU) were not toxic to the mice. Treatment of mice with L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep triggered phenotypic maturation and the release of proinflammatory cytokines by dendritic cells and macrophages. Moreover, treatment of mice with L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep enhanced antibody immune responses, including IgA, IgG(1), IgG(2b), IgG(2c) and IgG(3). L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep also increased the gene expression of numerous pattern recognition receptors, including Toll-like receptors, C-type lectin receptors and NOD-like receptors.<br /><br />CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggest that L. gasseri expressing PA-DCpep has substantial immunopotentiating properties, as it can induce humoral and T cell-mediated immune responses upon oral administration and may be used as a safe oral vaccine against anthrax challenge.
Kathania, M., Zadeh, M., Lightfoot, Y. L., Roman, R. M., Sahay, B., Abbott, J. R., & Mohamadzadeh, M. (2013). Colonic Immune Stimulation by Targeted Oral Vaccine. PLoS ONE, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055143