Author(s): Yin Y, Tian D, Jiao H, Zhang C, Pan Z,
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Abstract Listeria monocytogenes has been exploited as a vaccine carrier based upon its ability to induce a strong cell-mediated immune response. At present, the safety of live, attenuated L. monocytogenes vaccines in patients is being studied in clinical trials. L. monocytogenes is also an attractive vaccine vector for use in poultry; however, the pathogenicity and immunogenicity of this organism in poultry remain to be fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated the pathogenicity and immunogenicity of an actA- and plcB-deficient L. monocytogenes strain, yzuLM4ΔactA/plcB, and its wild-type parent strain, yzuLM4, in an avian infection model. The results showed that the wild-type strain could infect ISA brown chickens, causing serious tissue disruptions, including various degrees of degeneration, necrotic lesions, and inflammatory cell infiltration in the liver, spleen, heart, and kidney. However, the mutant strain showed reduced virulence in embryonated eggs compared with that of the parent strain (the 50\% lethal dose [LD(50)] was 3 logs higher). The mutant strain also showed low virulence in chickens and was rapidly eliminated by the host. There were no obvious pathological changes in tissue sections, but the mutant strain still retained the ability to stimulate high levels of antibody against the protein listeriolysin O (LLO). Booster immunization with the mutant strain led to rapid bacterial clearance from the livers and spleens of chickens challenged by the intramuscular route or the oral route. Collectively, our data suggest that the wild-type serotype 1/2a L. monocytogenes strain can cause serious disease in chickens but the mutant strain with a deletion of the actA and plcB genes is less virulent but induces a strong immune response. This mutant strain of L. monocytogenes is therefore a promising candidate as a safe and effective vector for the delivery of heterologous antigens to prevent zoonosis and infectious disease in poultry.
This article was published in Clin Vaccine Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination