Author(s): Kedzierska K, Curtis JM, Valkenburg SA, Hatton LA, Kiu H, , Kedzierska K, Curtis JM, Valkenburg SA, Hatton LA, Kiu H,
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Abstract The available evidence suggests that protective immunity to Leishmania is achieved by priming the CD4(+) Th1 response. Therefore, we utilised a reverse genetics strategy to generate influenza A viruses to deliver an immunogenic Leishmania peptide. The single, immunodominant Leishmania-specific LACK(158-173) CD4(+) peptide was engineered into the neuraminidase stalk of H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A viruses. These recombinant viruses were used to vaccinate susceptible BALB/c mice to determine whether the resultant LACK(158-173)-specific CD4(+) T cell responses protected against live L. major infection. We show that vaccination with influenza-LACK(158-173) triggers LACK(158-173)-specific Th1-biased CD4(+) T cell responses within an appropriate cytokine milieu (IFN-γ, IL-12), essential for the magnitude and quality of the Th1 response. A single intraperitoneal exposure (non-replicative route of immunisation) to recombinant influenza delivers immunogenic peptides, leading to a marked reduction (2-4 log) in parasite burden, albeit without reduction in lesion size. This correlated with increased numbers of IFN-γ-producing CD4(+) T cells in vaccinated mice compared to controls. Importantly, the subsequent prime-boost approach with a serologically distinct strain of influenza (H1N1->H3N2) expressing LACK(158-173) led to a marked reduction in both lesion size and parasite burdens in vaccination trials. This protection correlated with high levels of IFN-γ producing cells in the spleen, which were maintained for 6 weeks post-challenge indicating the longevity of this protective effector response. Thus, these experiments show that Leishmania-derived peptides delivered in the context of recombinant influenza viruses are immunogenic in vivo, and warrant investigation of similar vaccine strategies to generate parasite-specific immunity.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology