Human immune responses against Shigella and enterotoxigenic E. coli: Current advances and the path forward.
ABSTRACT: Robust and well-established immunological assays and firm immune correlates of protection that can predict disease outcome and/or vaccine efficacy are essential to adequately assess human immune responses to infection and vaccination. The availability of reagents and calibrated controls is also critically important to standardize assays and generate comparable results among different laboratories. The workshop "Human Immune Responses against Shigella and ETEC: Current Advances and the Path Forward" held during the VASE meeting provided an opportunity to disseminate and discuss recent advances in the field of Shigella and ETEC immunology, identify research needs, and propose collaborative activities to advance the field. Four presentations featured current knowledge on humoral and cellular immune responses to Shigella and ETEC during infection and vaccination. A discussion followed on immunological methods relevant for clinical studies, immune parameters associated with protection, harmonization of assays among laboratories, and availability of reagents and standards. Specific recommendations proposed to facilitate "the path forward" included supporting communication among scientists, harmonization of assays and sharing of protocols, the creation of a repository of reagents and calibrated controls and distribution of such material to the research community, and expansion of exploratory studies to better understand the interactions between these pathogens and the human immune system and the ensuing responses.
Project description:A multivalent live oral vaccine against both Shigella spp. and enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is being developed based on the hypothesis that protection can be achieved if attenuated shigellae express ETEC fimbrial colonization factors and genetically detoxified heat-labile toxin from a human ETEC isolate (LTh). Two detoxified derivatives of LTh, LThK63 and LThR72, were engineered by substitution-serine to lysine at residue 63, or lysine to arginine at residue 72. The genes encoding these two derivatives were cloned separately on expression plasmids downstream from the CFA/I operon. Following electroporation into S. flexneri 2a vaccine strain CVD 1204, coexpression of CFA/I and LThK63 or LThR72 was demonstrated by Western blot analysis, GM(1) binding assays, and agglutination with anti-CFA/I antiserum. Hemagglutination and electron microscopy confirmed surface expression of CFA/I. Guinea pigs immunized intranasally on days 0 and 15 with CVD 1204 expressing CFA/I and LThK63 or LThR72 exhibited high titers of both serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and mucosal secretory IgA anti-CFA/I; 40% of the animals produced antibodies directed against LTh. All immunized guinea pigs also produced mucosal IgA (in tears) and serum IgG anti-S. flexneri 2a O antibodies. Furthermore, all immunized animals were protected from challenge with wild-type S. flexneri 2a. This prototype Shigella-ETEC hybrid vaccine demonstrates the feasibility of expressing multiple ETEC antigens on a single plasmid in an attenuated Shigella vaccine strain and engendering immune responses against both the heterologous antigens and vector strain.
Project description:The genes that encode the enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) CS4 fimbriae, csaA, -B, -C, -E, and -D', were isolated from strain E11881A. The csa operon encodes a 17-kDa major fimbrial subunit (CsaB), a 40-kDa tip-associated protein (CsaE), a 27-kDa chaperone-like protein (CsaA), a 97-kDa usher-like protein (CsaC), and a deleted regulatory protein (CsaD'). The predicted amino acid sequences of the CS4 proteins are highly homologous to structural and assembly proteins of other ETEC fimbriae, including CS1 and CS2, and to CFA/I in particular. The csaA, -B, -C, -E operon was cloned on a stabilized plasmid downstream from an osomotically regulated ompC promoter. pGA2-CS4 directs production of CS4 fimbriae in both E. coli DH5alpha and Shigella flexneri 2a vaccine strain CVD 1204, as detected by Western blot analysis and bacterial agglutination with anti-CS4 immune sera. Electron-microscopic examination of Shigella expressing CS4 confirmed the presence of fimbriae on the bacterial surface. Guinea pigs immunized with CVD 1204(pGA2-CS4) showed serum and mucosal antibody responses to both the Shigella vector and the ETEC fimbria CS4. Among the seven most prevalent fimbrial antigens of human ETEC, CS4 is the last to be cloned and sequenced. These findings pave the way for CS4 to be included in multivalent ETEC vaccines, including an attenuated Shigella live-vector-based ETEC vaccine.
Project description:The Cancer Vaccine Consortium of the Sabin Vaccine Institute (CVC/SVI) is conducting an ongoing large-scale immune monitoring harmonization program through its members and affiliated associations. This effort was brought to life as an external validation program by conducting an international Elispot proficiency panel with 36 laboratories in 2005, and was followed by a second panel with 29 participating laboratories in 2006 allowing for application of learnings from the first panel. Critical protocol choices, as well as standardization and validation practices among laboratories were assessed through detailed surveys. Although panel participants had to follow general guidelines in order to allow comparison of results, each laboratory was able to use its own protocols, materials and reagents. The second panel recorded an overall significantly improved performance, as measured by the ability to detect all predefined responses correctly. Protocol choices and laboratory practices, which can have a dramatic effect on the overall assay outcome, were identified and lead to the following recommendations: (A) Establish a laboratory SOP for Elispot testing procedures including (A1) a counting method for apoptotic cells for determining adequate cell dilution for plating, and (A2) overnight rest of cells prior to plating and incubation, (B) Use only pre-tested serum optimized for low background: high signal ratio, (C) Establish a laboratory SOP for plate reading including (C1) human auditing during the reading process and (C2) adequate adjustments for technical artifacts, and (D) Only allow trained personnel, which is certified per laboratory SOPs to conduct assays. Recommendations described under (A) were found to make a statistically significant difference in assay performance, while the remaining recommendations are based on practical experiences confirmed by the panel results, which could not be statistically tested. These results provide initial harmonization guidelines to optimize Elispot assay performance to the immunotherapy community. Further optimization is in process with ongoing panels.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) causes diarrhea in humans, cows, and pigs. The gut microbiota underlies pathology of several infectious diseases yet the role of the gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of ETEC-induced diarrhea is unknown.<h4>Results</h4>By using an ETEC induced diarrheal model in piglet, we profiled the jejunal and fecal microbiota using metagenomics and 16S rRNA sequencing. A jejunal microbiota transplantation experiment was conducted to determine the role of the gut microbiota in ETEC-induced diarrhea. ETEC-induced diarrhea influenced the structure and function of gut microbiota. Diarrheal piglets had lower Bacteroidetes: Firmicutes ratio and microbiota diversity in the jejunum and feces, and lower percentage of Prevotella in the feces, but higher Lactococcus in the jejunum and higher Escherichia-Shigella in the feces. The transplantation of the jejunal microbiota from diarrheal piglets to uninfected piglets leaded to diarrhea after transplantation. Microbiota transplantation experiments also supported the notion that dysbiosis of gut microbiota is involved in the immune responses in ETEC-induced diarrhea.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We conclude that ETEC infection influences the gut microbiota and the dysbiosis of gut microbiota after ETEC infection mediates the immune responses in ETEC infection.
Project description:Four multiplex PCR assays for detection of 19 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) colonization factors and an improved ETEC toxin multiplex PCR were developed and tested on Bangladeshi and Bolivian ETEC strain collections. The assays will be useful for surveillance of ETEC infections in diagnostic laboratories that have access to PCR.
Project description:Shigella is an important cause of diarrhea worldwide, with serotypes Shigella flexneri 2a, S. flexneri 3a, and Shigella sonnei demonstrating epidemiological prevalence. Many development efforts are focused on Shigella lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-based vaccines, as O antigen-specific conjugate vaccines are immunogenic and efficacious. Immunization with Shigella vaccines containing LPS can elicit antibodies capable of killing Shigella in a serotype-specific manner. Thus, to facilitate Shigella vaccine development, we have developed a serum bactericidal assay (SBA) specific for three Shigella serotypes that measures killing of target bacteria at multiple serum dilutions and in the presence of exogenous complement. The SBA has a high analytical throughput and uses simple technologies and readily available reagents. The SBA was characterized with human sera with bactericidal antibodies against S. flexneri 2a, S. flexneri 3a, and S. sonnei Purified LPS of a homologous serotype, but not a heterologous serotype, inhibited bacterial killing. Assessment of precision found median intra-assay precision to be 13.3% and median interassay precision to be 19 to 30% for the three serotypes. The SBA is linear, with slight deviations for samples with low (~40) killing indices. The SBA was sensitive enough to allow about 100-fold predilution of serum samples. Repeat assays yielded results with less than 2-fold deviations, indicating the robustness of the assay. Assay results from four different laboratories were highly comparable when normalized with a reference serum. The Shigella SBA, combined with a reference serum, should facilitate the development of Shigella vaccines across the field.IMPORTANCEShigella is an important cause of diarrhea worldwide, and efforts are ongoing to produce a safe and effective Shigella vaccine. Although a clear immune correlate of protection has not been established, antibodies with bactericidal capacity may provide one means of protecting against shigellosis. Thus, it is important to measure the functional capacity of antibodies, as opposed to only binding activity. This article describes a simple, robust, and high-throughput serum bactericidal assay capable of measuring Shigella-specific functional antibodies in vitro We show for the first time that this assay was successfully performed by multiple laboratories and generated highly comparable results, particularly when SBA titers were normalized using a reference standard. The serum bactericidal assay, along with a reference serum, should greatly facilitate Shigella vaccine development.
Project description:Acute diarrheal disease (ADD) can be caused by a range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Conventional diagnostic methods, such as culture, microscopy, biochemical assays, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), are laborious and time-consuming and lack sensitivity. Combined, the array of tests performed on a single specimen can increase the turnaround time (TAT) significantly. We validated a 19plex laboratory-developed gastrointestinal pathogen panel (GPP) using Luminex xTAG analyte-specific reagents (ASRs) to simultaneously screen directly in fecal specimens for diarrhea-causing pathogens, including bacteria (Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli [ETEC], Shiga toxin-producing E. coli [STEC], E. coli O157:H7, Vibrio cholerae, Yersinia enterocolitica, and toxigenic Clostridium difficile), parasites (Giardia lamblia, Cryptosporidium spp., and Entamoeba histolytica), and viruses (norovirus GI and GII, adenovirus 40/41, and rotavirus A). Performance characteristics of GPP ASRs were determined using 48 reference isolates and 254 clinical specimens. Stool specimens from individuals with diarrhea were tested for pathogens using conventional and molecular methods. Using the predictive methods as standards, the sensitivities of the GPP ASRs were 100% for adenovirus 40/41, norovirus, rotavirus A, Vibrio cholerae, Yersinia enterocolitica, Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium spp., and E. coli O157:H7; 95% for Giardia lamblia; 94% for ETEC and STEC; 93% for Shigella spp.; 92% for Salmonella spp.; 91% for C. difficile A/B toxins; and 90% for Campylobacter jejuni. The overall comparative performance of the GPP ASRs with conventional methods in clinical samples was 94.5% (range, 90% to 97%), with 99% (99.0% to 99.9%) specificity. Implementation of the GPP ASRs enables our public health laboratory to offer highly sensitive and specific screening and identification of the major ADD-causing pathogens.
Project description:The TaqMan Array Card (TAC) system is a 384-well singleplex real-time PCR format that has been used to detect multiple infection targets. Here we developed an enteric TaqMan Array Card to detect 19 enteropathogens, including viruses (adenovirus, astrovirus, norovirus GII, rotavirus, and sapovirus), bacteria (Campylobacter jejuni/C. coli, Clostridium difficile, Salmonella, Vibrio cholerae, diarrheagenic Escherichia coli strains including enteroaggregative E. coli [EAEC], enterotoxigenic E. coli [ETEC], enteropathogenic E. coli [EPEC], and Shiga-toxigenic E. coli [STEC]), Shigella/enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), protozoa (Cryptosporidium, Giardia lamblia, and Entamoeba histolytica), and helminths (Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura), as well as two extrinsic controls to monitor extraction and amplification efficiency (the bacteriophage MS2 and phocine herpesvirus). Primers and probes were newly designed or adapted from published sources and spotted onto microfluidic cards. Fecal samples were spiked with extrinsic controls, and DNA and RNA were extracted using the QiaAmp Stool DNA minikit and the QuickGene RNA Tissue kit, respectively, and then mixed with Ag-Path-ID One Step real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) reagents and loaded into cards. PCR efficiencies were between 90% and 105%, with linearities of 0.988 to 1. The limit of detection of the assays in the TAC was within a 10-fold difference from the cognate assays performed on plates. Precision testing demonstrated a coefficient of variation of below 5% within a run and 14% between runs. Accuracy was evaluated for 109 selected clinical specimens and revealed an average sensitivity and specificity of 85% and 77%, respectively, compared with conventional methods (including microscopy, culture, and immunoassay) and 98% and 96%, respectively, compared with our laboratory-developed PCR-Luminex assays. This TAC allows fast, accurate, and quantitative detection of a broad spectrum of enteropathogens and is well suited for surveillance or clinical purposes.
Project description:While diarrhea mortality in children has declined over the last two decades, there has been a slower decline in diarrheal episodes. Repeated diarrheal episodes are associated with childhood stunting, which leads to increased mortality risk from infectious diseases. Vaccine candidates are under development for enterotoxigenic <i>Escherichia coli</i> [ETEC] and <i>Shigella</i>, important enteric pathogens in children in low income countries. These future vaccines could significantly reduce diarrheal burden, prevent ETEC- and <i>Shigella</i>-induced stunting, and stunting-associated mortality. We developed a cost-effectiveness model for two putative standalone ETEC and <i>Shigella</i> vaccine candidates to evaluate vaccine impact on mortality, morbidity, stunting, and stunting-associated deaths from other infectious diseases. We modeled impact over the first ten years after vaccine introduction in children under five years old living in 79 low and low-middle income countries. ETEC and <i>Shigella</i> diarrhea would cause an estimated 239,300 [95% UL: 179,700-309,800] and 340,300 [256,500-440,800] child deaths, respectively, from years 2025 to 2034. Most of these deaths would occur in AFRO countries. ETEC and <i>Shigella</i> moderate-to-severe diarrheal episodes would result in over 13.7 [8.4-19.0] and 21.4 [13.1-29.8] million stunted children, respectively. Introducing ETEC or <i>Shigella</i> vaccine each with 60% efficacy could prevent 92,000 [61,000-129,000] ETEC and 126,600 [84,000-179,000] <i>Shigella</i> direct deaths and 21,400 [11,300-34,800] ETEC- and 34,200 [18,000-56,000] <i>Shigella</i>-induced stunting deaths. ETEC ICERs ranged from $2172/DALY [1457-4369] in AFRO to $19,172/DALY [12,665-39,503] in EURO. <i>Shigella</i> ICERs ranged from $952/DALY [632-2001] in EMRO to $640,316/DALY [434,311-1,297,192] in EURO. Limitations of this analysis include uncertainty of vaccine efficacy, duration of protection, and vaccine price. Inclusion of other infectious disease mortality due to stunting provides a more accurate assessment of total ETEC and <i>Shigella</i> disease burden and increased the projected impact and cost-effectiveness of vaccination. Introducing vaccines only in high burden countries and regions could substantially reduce cost without substantially reducing impact.
Project description:Diarrheal disease burden has become more heterogenous in low- and lower middle-income countries as access to clean water, sanitation and health care has increased in wealthier urban populations. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) and Shigella are among the top five causes of diarrheal mortality in children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Here, we explored how accounting for subnational and economic heterogeneity in ETEC and Shigella disease burden affects projected vaccine impact and cost-effectiveness of standalone ETEC and Shigella vaccines during the first decade after introduction in four sub-Saharan African countries. We developed dynamic models for provincial areas and socioeconomic subpopulations of children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We estimated deaths and morbidity due to ETEC and Shigella diarrhea plus additional deaths from other infectious diseases attributable to ETEC- and Shigella-induced stunting. We analyzed cost-effectiveness using Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratios (ICERs) with Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) and Moderate-and-Severe Diarrheal episodes (MSD) averted as denominators. Other infectious disease deaths due to induced stunting accounted for 9-28% and 9-32% of the total provincial level ETEC and Shigella disease burden, respectively, across these four countries from years 2025 to 2034. Our results indicated that the lowest and most cost-effective provincial DALYs averted ICERs were below $600 and $500/DALY averted for ETEC and Shigella vaccination, respectively in Zimbabwe. ICERs were the highest in Zambia and Kenya, where all provincial ICERs where above $2000/DALY. The highest national and provincial MSD averted ICERs were in DRC, while the lowest were in Kenya and Zimbabwe. Vaccinations were most cost-effective in averting DALYs in lower wealth subpopulations living in the highest burden provincial areas. Our approach focused on subnational heterogeneity in ETEC and Shigella burden and vaccination access found that impact and cost-effectiveness were more favorable if vaccinations reach the most vulnerable children in underserved provinces.