Differential DNA methylation of potassium channel KCa3.1 and immune signalling pathways is associated with infant immune responses following BCG vaccination.
ABSTRACT: Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the only licensed vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) and induces highly variable protection against pulmonary disease in different countries. We hypothesised that DNA methylation is one of the molecular mechanisms driving variability in BCG-induced immune responses. DNA methylation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from BCG vaccinated infants was measured and comparisons made between low and high BCG-specific cytokine responders. We found 318 genes and 67 pathways with distinct patterns of DNA methylation, including immune pathways, e.g. for T cell activation, that are known to directly affect immune responses. We also highlight signalling pathways that could indirectly affect the BCG-induced immune response: potassium and calcium channel, muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, G Protein coupled receptor (GPCR), glutamate signalling and WNT pathways. This study suggests that in addition to immune pathways, cellular processes drive vaccine-induced immune responses. Our results highlight mechanisms that require consideration when designing new TB vaccines.
Project description:The reason for the largely variable protective effect against TB of the vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is not understood. In this study, we investigated whether epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the response of immune cells to the BCG vaccine. We isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from BCG-vaccinated subjects and performed global DNA methylation analysis in combination with functional assays representative of innate immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Enhanced containment of replication was observed in monocyte-derived macrophages from a sub-group of BCG-vaccinated individuals (identified as 'responders'). A stable and robust differential DNA methylation pattern in response to BCG could be observed in PBMCs isolated from the responders but not from the non-responders. Gene ontology analysis revealed that promoters with altered DNA methylation pattern were strongly enriched among genes belonging to immune pathways in responders, however no enrichments could be observed in the non-responders. Our findings suggest that BCG-induced epigenetic reprogramming of immune cell function can enhance anti-mycobacterial immunity in macrophages. Understanding why BCG induces this response in responders but not in non-responders could provide clues to improvement of TB vaccine efficacy.
Project description:The reason for the largely variable protective effect against TB of the vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) is not understood. In this study, we investigated whether epigenetic mechanisms are involved in the response of immune cells to the BCG vaccine. We isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from BCG-vaccinated subjects and performed global DNA methylation analysis in combination with functional assays representative of innate immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Enhanced containment of replication was observed in monocyte-derived macrophages from a sub-group of BCG-vaccinated individuals (identified as ‘responders’). A stable and robust differential DNA methylation pattern in response to BCG could be observed in PBMCs isolated from the responders but not from the non-responders. Gene ontology analysis revealed that promoters with altered DNA methylation pattern were strongly enriched among genes belonging to immune pathways in responders, however no enrichments could be observed in the non-responders. Our findings suggest that BCG-induced epigenetic reprogramming of immune cell function can enhance anti-mycobacterial immunity. Understanding why BCG induces this responses in responders but not in nnon-responders could provide clues to improvement of TB vaccine efficacy. Overall design: 8 Sample DNAs were isolated from NK cells and the aPBMCs using QiAmp DNA isolation kit. DNA concentrations were measured by Qubit fluorometer. DNA samples were bisulphite converted, amplified, fragmented and hybridized to an Illumina Infinium Human Methylation 450K Bead Chip and scanned
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Although the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG) protects young children against serious forms of TB, protection against pulmonary TB is variable. We assessed BCG vaccine-induced cellular immune responses and determined for how long they could be detected during childhood in Antananarivo, Madagascar.<h4>Methods</h4>We assessed BCG vaccine-induced cellular immune responses by TST and IGRA (in-house ELISPOT assay) using BCG and PPD as stimulation antigen, and compared results between vaccinated and non-vaccinated schoolchildren of two age groups, 6-7 and 13-14 years old.<h4>Results</h4>Three hundred and sixty-three healthy schoolchildren were enrolled. TST was performed on 351 children and IGRA on 142. A high proportion (66%; 229/343) of the children had no TST reactivity (induration size 0 mm). TST-positive responses (?15 mm) were more prevalent among 13-14 year-old (31.7%) than 6-7 year old (16.5%) children, both in the non-vaccinated (43% vs. 9%, p<0.001) and vaccinated (29% vs. 13%, p=0.002) subgroups. There were no significant differences in TST responses between vaccinated and non-vaccinated children in either of the age groups. The IGRA response to BCG and to PPD stimulation was not significantly different according to BCG vaccination record or to age group. A high rate (15.5%; 22/142) of indeterminate IGRA responses was observed. There was very poor agreement between TST and IGRA-PPD findings (k= 0.08) and between TST and IGRA-BCG findings (k= 0.02).<h4>Conclusion</h4>Analysis of TST and IGRA response to stimulation with BCG and PPD revealed no difference in immune response between BCG-vaccinated and non-vaccinated children; also no decrease of the BCG vaccine-induced cellular immune response over time was observed. We conclude that TST and IGRA have limitations in assessing a role of BCG or tuberculosis-related immunity.
Project description:Despite its relatively poor efficacy, Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been used as a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine since its development in 1921. BCG induces robust T helper 1 (Th1) immune responses but, for many individuals, this is not sufficient for host resistance against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) infection. Here we provide evidence that early secreted antigenic target protein 6 (ESAT-6), expressed by the virulent M. tb strain H37Rv but not by BCG, promotes vaccine-enhancing Th17 cell responses. These activities of ESAT-6 were dependent on TLR-2/MyD88 signalling and involved IL-6 and TGF-? production by dendritic cells. Thus, animals that were previously infected with H37Rv or recombinant BCG containing the RD1 region (BCG::RD1) exhibited improved protection upon re-challenge with virulent H37Rv compared with mice previously infected with BCG or RD1-deficient H37Rv (H37Rv?RD1). However, TLR-2 knockout (TLR-2?/?) animals neither showed Th17 responses nor exhibited improved protection in response to immunization with H37Rv. Furthermore, H37Rv and BCG::RD1 infection had little effect on the expression of the anti-inflammatory microRNA-146a (miR146a) in dendritic cells (DCs), whereas BCG and H37Rv?RD1 profoundly induced its expression in DCs. Consistent with these findings, ESAT-6 had no effect on miR146a expression in uninfected DCs, but dramatically inhibited its upregulation in BCG-infected or LPS-treated DCs. Collectively, our findings indicate that, in addition to Th1 immunity induced by BCG, RD1/ESAT-6-induced Th17 immune responses are essential for optimal vaccine efficacy.
Project description:Development of a broad-spectrum synthetic vaccine against TB would represent an important advance to the limited vaccine armamentarium against TB. It is believed that the esx family of TB antigens may represent important vaccine candidates. However, only 4 esx antigens have been studied as potential vaccine antigens. The challenge remains to develop a vaccine that simultaneously targets all 23 members of the esx family to induce enhanced broad-spectrum cell-mediated immunity. We sought to investigate if broader cellular immune responses could be induced using a multivalent DNA vaccine representing the esx family protein members delivered via electroporation. In this study, 15 designed esx antigens were created to cross target all members of the esx family. They were distributed into groups of 3 self-processing antigens each, resulting in 5 trivalent highly optimized DNA plasmids. Vaccination with all 5 constructs elicited robust antigen-specific IFN-? responses to all encoded esx antigens and induced multifunctional CD4 Th1 and CD8 T cell responses. Importantly, we show that when all constructs are combined into a cocktail, the RSQ-15 vaccine, elicited substantial broad Ag-specific T cell responses to all esx antigens as compared with vaccination with BCG. Moreover, these vaccine-induced responses were highly cross-reactive with BCG encoded esx family members and were highly immune effective in a BCG DNA prime-boost format. Furthermore, we demonstrate the vaccine potential and immunopotent profile of several novel esx antigens never previously studied. These data highlight the likely importance of these novel immunogens for study as preventative or therapeutic synthetic TB vaccines in combination or as stand alone antigens.
Project description:A vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), a disease resulting from infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), is urgently needed to prevent more than a million deaths per year. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the only available vaccine against TB but its efficacy varies throughout the world. Subunit vaccine candidates, based on recombinant viral vectors expressing mycobacterial antigens, are one of the strategies being developed to boost BCG-primed host immune responses and efficacy. A promising vaccination regimen composed of intradermal (i.d.) BCG prime, followed by intranasally (i.n.) administered chimpanzee adenoviral vector (ChAdOx1) and i.n. or i.d. modified vaccinia Ankara virus (MVA), both expressing Ag85A, has been previously reported to significantly improve BCG efficacy in mice. Effector and memory immune responses induced by BCG-ChAdOx1.85A-MVA85A (B-C-M), were evaluated to identify immune correlates of protection in mice. This protective regime induced strong Ag85A-specific cytokine responses in CD4<sup>+</sup> and CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, both in the systemic and pulmonary compartments. Lung parenchymal CXCR3<sup>+</sup> KLRG1<sup>-</sup> Ag85A-specific memory CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells were significantly increased in B-C-M compared to BCG immunised mice at 4, 8 and 20 weeks post vaccination, but the number of these cells decreased at the latter time point. This cell population was associated with the protective efficacy of this regime and may have an important protective role against M.tb infection.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The current tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), provides insufficient protection against pulmonary TB. Previously, we generated a listeriolysin-expressing recombinant BCG strain, which to date has successfully completed phase I and phase IIa clinical trials. In an attempt to further improve efficacy, we deleted the antiapoptotic virulence gene nuoG, encoding NADH dehydrogenase 1 subunit G, from BCG ?ureC::hly In vitro, deletion of nuoG unexpectedly led to strongly increased recruitment of the autophagosome marker LC3 to the engulfed vaccine, suggesting that nuoG also affects xenophagic pathways. In mice, BCG ?ureC::hly ?nuoG vaccination was safer than BCG and improved protection over that of parental BCG ?ureC::hly, significantly reducing TB load in murine lungs, ameliorating pulmonary pathology, and enhancing immune responses. Transcriptome analysis of draining lymph nodes after vaccination with either BCG ?ureC::hly or BCG ?ureC::hly ?nuoG demonstrated earlier and stronger induction of immune responses than that with BCG SSI and suggested upregulation of inflammasome activation and interferon-induced GTPases. In summary, BCG ?ureC::hly ?nuoG is a promising next-generation TB vaccine candidate with excellent efficacy and safety. IMPORTANCE:Autophagy and apoptosis are fundamental processes allowing cells to degrade their components or kill themselves, respectively. The immune system has adopted these mechanisms to eliminate intracellular pathogens. Residing in host cells, the causative agent of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has evolved strategies to set cellular programs of autophagy and apoptosis "on hold." The mycobacterial gene nuoG was found to prevent host cell apoptosis. We have deleted nuoG in the live vaccine candidate BCG ?ureC::hly, which is in phase II clinical development, to leave cellular apoptosis "on go" upon immunization. In preclinical models, this strategy boosted immunity and improved protection from M. tuberculosis infection. Unexpectedly, we obtained compelling evidence that mycobacterial nuoG facilitates inhibition of autophagic pathways, suggesting a new role for this gene in the host-pathogen interplay in tuberculosis.
Project description:Protective efficacy of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may be affected by the methods and routes of vaccine administration. We have studied the safety and immunogenicity of oral (PO) and/or intradermal (ID) administration of BCG in healthy human subjects. No major safety concerns were detected in the 68 healthy adults vaccinated with PO and/or ID BCG. Although both PO and ID BCG could induce systemic Th1 responses capable of IFN-? production, ID BCG more strongly induced systemic Th1 responses. In contrast, stronger mucosal responses (TB-specific secretory IgA and bronchoalveolar lavage T cells) were induced by PO BCG vaccination. To generate preliminary data comparing the early gene signatures induced by mucosal and systemic BCG vaccination, CD4+ memory T cells were isolated from subsets of BCG vaccinated subjects pre- (Day 0) and post-vaccination (Days 7 and 56), rested or stimulated with BCG infected dendritic cells, and then studied by Illumina BeadArray transcriptomal analysis. Notably, distinct gene expression profiles were identified both on Day 7 and Day 56 comparing the PO and ID BCG vaccinated groups by GSEA analysis. Future correlation analyses between specific gene expression patterns and distinct mucosal and systemic immune responses induced will be highly informative for TB vaccine development.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In early clinical studies, the live tuberculosis vaccine Mycobacterium bovis BCG exhibited 80% protective efficacy against pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Although BCG still exhibits reliable protection against TB meningitis and miliary TB in early childhood it has become less reliable in protecting against pulmonary TB. During decades of in vitro cultivation BCG not only lost some genes due to deletions of regions of the chromosome but also underwent gene duplication and other mutations resulting in increased antioxidant production. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:To determine whether microbial antioxidants influence vaccine immunogenicity, we eliminated duplicated alleles encoding the oxidative stress sigma factor SigH in BCG Tice and reduced the activity and secretion of iron co-factored superoxide dismutase. We then used assays of gene expression and flow cytometry with intracellular cytokine staining to compare BCG-specific immune responses in mice after vaccination with BCG Tice or the modified BCG vaccine. Compared to BCG, the modified vaccine induced greater IL-12p40, RANTES, and IL-21 mRNA in the spleens of mice at three days post-immunization, more cytokine-producing CD8+ lymphocytes at the peak of the primary immune response, and more IL-2-producing CD4+ lymphocytes during the memory phase. The modified vaccine also induced stronger secondary CD4+ lymphocyte responses and greater clearance of challenge bacilli. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:We conclude that antioxidants produced by BCG suppress host immune responses. These findings challenge the hypothesis that the failure of extensively cultivated BCG vaccines to prevent pulmonary tuberculosis is due to over-attenuation and suggest instead a new model in which BCG evolved to produce more immunity-suppressing antioxidants. By targeting these antioxidants it may be possible to restore BCG's ability to protect against pulmonary TB.
Project description:Vaccines have been traditionally developed with the presumption that they exert identical immunogenicity regardless of target population and that they provide protection solely against their target pathogen. However, it is increasingly appreciated that vaccines can have off-target effects and that vaccine immunogenicity can vary substantially with demographic factors such as age and sex. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the live attenuated Mycobacterium bovis vaccine against tuberculosis (TB), represents a key example of these concepts. BCG vaccines are manufactured under different conditions across the globe generating divergent formulations. Epidemiologic studies have linked early life immunization with certain BCG formulations to an unanticipated reduction (?50%) in all-cause mortality, especially in low birthweight males, greatly exceeding that attributable to TB prevention. This mortality benefit has been related to prevention of sepsis and respiratory infections suggesting that BCG induces "heterologous" protection against unrelated pathogens. Proposed mechanisms for heterologous protection include vaccine-induced immunometabolic shifts, epigenetic reprogramming of innate cell populations, and modulation of hematopoietic stem cell progenitors resulting in altered responses to subsequent stimuli, a phenomenon termed "trained immunity." In addition to genetic differences, licensed BCG formulations differ markedly in content of viable mycobacteria key for innate immune activation, potentially contributing to differences in the ability of these diverse formulations to induce TB-specific and heterologous protection. BCG immunomodulatory properties have also sparked interest in its potential use to prevent or alleviate autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including type 1 diabetes mellitus and multiple sclerosis. BCG can also serve as a model: nanoparticle vaccine formulations incorporating Toll-like receptor 8 agonists can mimic some of BCG's innate immune activation, suggesting that aspects of BCG's effects can be induced with non-replicating stimuli. Overall, BCG represents a paradigm for precision vaccinology, lessons from which will help inform next generation vaccines.