Genetic Modification Of Francisella Tularensis LVS For Use As A Novel Live Vaccine Platform | 3218
Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology
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Francisella tularensis LVS is an attenuated bacterium that has been used as a live vaccine. Patients immunized with this
organism show a very long-term memory response (over 30 years post vaccination) indicated by a strong cell-mediated
immune response. Based on the fact that F. tularensis LVS is such a potent vaccine, we propose to use this organism as a novel
vaccine platform. We have developed numerous molecular tools to modify the genome of F. tularensis and to facilitate exogenous
gene expression including mutagenesis strategies and promoter identification. Interestingly, introducing attenuating mutations
that enhance the stimulatory nature of LVS do not necessarily enhance this strain?s protective efficacy. Currently, licensed
vaccines against important bacterial pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are not available.
Because many pathogenic strains of these organisms are also drug resistant, the need for effective vaccines is magnified. Ongoing
investigations involve engineering F. tularensis LVS to express genes encoding protective epitopes of either P. aeruginosa or S.
Joseph Horzempa completed his Ph.D. from Duquesne University in 2006, and conducted his postdoctoral research at the University of Pittsburgh
School of Medicine from 2006-2011. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at West Liberty University in West Virginia. He has authored 14
papers in peer-reviewed journals, received a NRSA fellowship (T32), and earned a NIAID research scholar development award (K22). He currently
draws funding from NIAID, NASA, and WV-INBRE.
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