Hewawaduge C, Kwon J, Sivasankar C, Park JY, Senev. Salmonella delivers H9N2 influenza virus antigens via a prokaryotic and eukaryotic dual-expression vector and elicits bivalent protection against avian influenza and fowl typhoid. Dev Comp Immunol. 2023 Sep 13:105058
The H9N2 avian influenza virus significantly affects the health of poultry and humans. We identified a prokaryotic and eukaryotic dual-expression vector system, pJHL270, that can provide simultaneous MHC class I and II stimulation of the host immune system, and we designed vaccine antigens by selecting the consensus HA1 sequence and M2e antigens from H9N2 virus circulating in South Korea from 2000 to 2021. The genes were cloned into the pJHL270 vector, and the cloned plasmid was delivered by a live-attenuated Salmonella Gallinarum (SG) strain. The immunity and protective efficacy of the SG-based H9N2 vaccine construct, JOL2922, against avian influenza and fowl typhoid (FT) were evaluated. The Ptrc and CMV promoters conferred antigen expression in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells to induce balanced Th-1/Th-2 immunity. Chickens immunized with JOL2922 yielded high antigen-specific humoral and mucosal immune responses. qRT-PCR revealed that the strain generated polyfunctional IFN-γ and IL-4 secretion in immunized chickens. Furthermore, a FACS analysis showed increased CD3CD4+ and CD3CD8+ T-cell subpopulations following immunization. Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) harvested from the immunized chickens significantly increased MHC class I and II expression, 3.5-fold and 2.5-fold increases, respectively. Serum collected from the immunized groups had an evident hemagglutinin inhibition titer of ≥6 log2. Immunization reduced the lung viral titer by 3.8-fold within 5 days post-infection. The strain also generated SG-specific humoral and cellular immune responses. The immunized birds all survived a virulent SG wild-type challenge. In addition, the bacterial burden was reduced by 2.7-fold and 2.1-fold in spleen and liver tissue, respectively, collected from immunized chickens. Our data indicate that an attenuated SG strain successfully delivered the dual-expression vector system and co-stimulated MHC class I and II antigen presentation pathways via exogenous and endogenous antigen presentation, thereby triggering a balanced Th-1/Th-2-based immune response and conferring effective protection against avian influenza and FT.
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