Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.103, No.2, 941-952, 2019
A recombinant multi-epitope peptide vaccine based on MOMP and CPSIT_p6 protein protects against Chlamydia psittaci lung infection
Chlamydia psittaci is an obligate intracellular pathogen with a broad host range that can lead to severe infectious disease by transferring from birds to humans. Vaccination has been considered the best way to prevent chlamydial infection; nevertheless, there is currently still no commercially available vaccine that can inhibit the spread of C. psittaci. In previous study, major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of C. psittaci was confirmed to be an appropriate candidate antigen for limiting C. psittaci respiratory infections in a murine model, and plasmid-encoded CPSIT_p6 also has functions similar to those of MOMP in our study. Therefore, according to bioinformatics analysis, we developed a recombinant peptide containing multiple antigenic epitopes from MOMP (24-32, 262-272) and CPSIT_p6 protein (109-119, 173-181) and evaluated the efficacy of peptide immunization. BALB/c mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with the recombinant multi-epitope antigens three times at 2-week intervals and subsequently intranasally infected with C. psittaci. We found that the recombinant multi-epitope antigens induced strong humoral and Th1 cellular immune responses by producing meaningfully high levels of antigen-specific antibodies, interferon-gamma (IFN-), or interleukin-2 (IL-2). Vaccination significantly reduced the bacterial burden and the degree of inflammation in the infected lungs and led to lower levels of IFN- and IL-6. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of CD4(+) splenocytes harvested from the vaccinated mice produced a significantly lower chlamydial load, indicating the importance of the cellular immune response. Therefore, the recombinant multi-epitope antigens may provide the basis for a new peptide-based vaccine against C. psittaci infection.