Viable spores of Coccidioides posadasii ?cps1 are required for vaccination and provide long lasting immunity.
ABSTRACT: Coccidioidomycosis is a systemic fungal infection for which a vaccine has been sought for over fifty years. The avirulent Coccidioides posadasii strain, ?cps1, which is missing a 6?kb gene, showed significant protection in mice. These studies explore conditions of protection in mice and elucidate the immune response. Mice were vaccinated with different doses and viability states of ?cps1 spores, challenged with virulent C. posadasii, and sacrificed at various endpoints, dependent on experimental objectives. Tissues from vaccinated mice were harvested for in vitro elucidation of immune response. Vaccination with viable ?cps1 spores was required for protection from lethal challenge. Viable spore vaccination produced durable immunity, lasting at least 6?months, and prolonged survival (?6 months). The C. posadasii vaccine strain also protected mice against C. immitis (survival???6?months). Cytokines from infected lungs of vaccinated mice in the first four days after Cp challenge showed significant increases of IFN-?, as did stimulated CD4+ spleen cells from vaccinated mice. Transfer of CD4+ cells, but not CD8+ or B cells, reduced fungal burdens following challenge. IFN-? from CD4+ cells in vaccinated mice indicates a Th1 response, which is critical for host control of coccidioidomycosis.
Project description:The CPS1 gene was identified as a virulence factor in the maize pathogen Cochliobolus heterostrophus Hypothesizing that the homologous gene in Coccidioides posadasii could be important for virulence, we created a ?cps1 deletion mutant which was unable to cause disease in three strains of mice (C57BL/6, BALB/c, or the severely immunodeficient NOD-scid,?c(null) [NSG]). Only a single colony was recovered from 1 of 60 C57BL/6 mice following intranasal infections of up to 4,400 spores. Following administration of very high doses (10,000 to 2.5 × 10(7) spores) to NSG and BALB/c mice, spherules were observed in lung sections at time points from day 3 to day 10 postinfection, but nearly all appeared degraded with infrequent endosporulation. Although the role of CPS1 in virulence is not understood, phenotypic alterations and transcription differences of at least 33 genes in the ?cps1 strain versus C. posadasii is consistent with both metabolic and regulatory functions for the gene. The in vitro phenotype of the ?cps1 strain showed slower growth of mycelia with delayed and lower spore production than C. posadasii, and in vitro spherules were smaller. Vaccination of C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice with live ?cps1 spores either intranasally, intraperitoneally, or subcutaneously resulted in over 95% survival with mean residual lung fungal burdens of <1,000 CFU from an otherwise lethal C. posadasii intranasal infection. Considering its apparently complete attenuation of virulence and the high degree of resistance to C. posadasii infection when used as a vaccine, the ?cps1 strain is a promising vaccine candidate for preventing coccidioidomycosis in humans or other animals.
Project description:Coccidioidomycosis (also known as San Joaquin Valley fever) is an occupational disease. Workers exposed to outdoor dust which contains spores of the soil-inhabiting fungus have a significantly increased risk of respiratory infection. In addition, people with compromised T-cell immunity, the elderly, and certain racial groups, particularly African-Americans and Filipinos, who live in regions of endemicity in the southwestern United States have an elevated incidence of symptomatic infection caused by inhalation of spores of Coccidioides posadasii or Coccidioides immitis. Recurring epidemics and escalation of medical costs have helped to motivate production of a vaccine against valley fever. The major focus has been the development of a defined, T-cell-reactive, recombinant protein vaccine. However, none of the products described to date have provided full protection to coccidioidal disease-susceptible BALB/c mice. Here we describe the first genetically engineered, live, attenuated vaccine that protects both BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice against coccidioidomycosis. Two chitinase genes (CTS2 and CTS3) were disrupted to yield the attenuated strain, which was unable to endosporulate and was no longer infectious. Vaccinated survivors mounted an immune response characterized by production of both T-helper-1- and T-helper-2-type cytokines. Histology revealed well-formed granulomas and markedly diminished inflammation. Significantly fewer organisms were observed in the lungs of survivors than in those of nonvaccinated mice. Additional investigations are required to further define the nature of the live, attenuated vaccine-induced immunity against Coccidioides infection.
Project description:Coccidioidomycosis is a human respiratory disease that is endemic to the southwestern United States and is caused by inhalation of the spores of a desert soilborne fungus. Efforts to develop a vaccine against this disease have focused on identification of T-cell-reactive antigens derived from the parasitic cell wall which can stimulate protective immunity against Coccidioides posadasii infection in mice. We previously described a productive immunoproteomic/bioinformatic approach to the discovery of vaccine candidates which makes use of the translated genome of C. posadasii and a computer-based method of scanning deduced sequences of seroreactive proteins for epitopes that are predicted to bind to human major histocompatibility (MHC) class II-restricted molecules. In this study we identified a set of putative cell wall proteins predicted to contain multiple, promiscuous MHC II binding epitopes. Three of these were expressed by Escherichia coli, combined in a vaccine, and tested for protective efficacy in C57BL/6 mice. Approximately 90% of the mice survived beyond 90 days after intranasal challenge, and the majority cleared the pathogen. We suggest that the multicomponent vaccine stimulates a broader range of T-cell clones than the single recombinant protein vaccines and thereby may be capable of inducing protection in an immunologically heterogeneous human population.
Project description:The CPS1 gene was identified as a virulence factor in the maize pathogen, Cochliobolus heterostrophus. Hypothesizing that the homologous gene in Coccidioides posadasii (Cp) could be important for virulence, we created a deletion mutant, Δcps1, which was unable to cause disease in three strains of mice (C57BL/6, BALB/c, or the severely immunodeficient NOD-scid,γcnull [NSG]). Only a single colony was recovered from one of 60 C57BL/6 mice following intranasal infections of up to 4400 spores. Following administration of very high doses (10,000 to 2.5 x 10^7 spores) to NSG and BALB/c mice, spherules were observed in lung sections at time points from day 3 to day 10 post-infection, but nearly all appeared degraded with infrequent endosporulation. Although the role of CPS1 in virulence is not understood, phenotypic alterations and transcription differences of at least 33 genes in Δcps1 vs. Cp is consistent with both metabolic and regulatory functions for the gene. The in vitro phenotype of Δcps1 showed slower growth of mycelia with delayed and lower spore production compared to Cp, and in vitro spherules were smaller. Vaccination of C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice with live Δcps1 spores either intranasally, intraperitoneally or subcutaneously resulted in over 95% survival with mean residual lung fungal burdens <1000 colony-forming units from an otherwise lethal Cp intranasal infection. Considering its apparently complete attenuation of virulence and the high degree of resistance to Cp infection when used as a vaccine, Δcps1 is a promising vaccine candidate for preventing coccidioidomycosis in humans or other animals. Wild type and CPS1 deletion mutant strains of Coccidioides posadasii strain Silveira spherules grown for 48 hours in Converse medium at 38 degrees celsius in duplicate. RNAseq was performed on an Illumina HiSeq2000 (2x100 paired end).
Project description:Coccidioides is a fungal pathogen and causative agent of a human respiratory disease against which no clinical vaccine exists. In this study we evaluated a novel vaccine adjuvant referred to as EP67, which is a peptide agonist of the biologically active C-terminal region of human complement component C5a. The EP67 peptide was conjugated to live spores of an attenuated vaccine strain (?T) of Coccidioides posadasii. The non-conjugated ?T vaccine provided partial protection to BALB/c mice against coccidioidomycosis. In this report we compared the protective efficacy of the ?T-EP67 conjugate to the ?T vaccine in BALB/c mice. Animals immunized subcutaneously with the ?T-EP67 vaccine showed significant increase in survival and decrease in fungal burden over 75 days postchallenge. Increased pulmonary infiltration of dendritic cells and macrophages was observed on day 7 postchallenge but marked decrease in neutrophil numbers had occurred by 11 days. The reduced influx of neutrophils may have contributed to the observed reduction of inflammatory pathology. Mice immunized with the ?T-EP67 vaccine also revealed enhanced expression of MHC II molecules on the surface of antigen presenting cells, and in vitro recall assays of immune splenocytes showed elevated Th1- and Th17-type cytokine production. The latter correlated with a marked increase in lung infiltration of IFN-?- and IL-17-producing CD4(+) T cells. Elevated expression of T-bet and RORc transcription factors in ?T-EP67-vaccinated mice indicated the promotion of Th1 and Th17 cell differentiation. Higher titers of Coccidioides antigen-specific IgG1 and IgG2a were detected in mice immunized with the EP67-conjugated versus the non-conjugated vaccine. These combined results suggest that the EP67 adjuvant enhances protective efficacy of the live vaccine by augmentation of T-cell immunity, especially through Th1- and Th17-mediated responses to Coccidioides infection.
Project description:Evaluation of the protective efficacy of recombinant T-cell-reactive proteins of Coccidioides posadasii in a murine model of coccidioidomycosis has led to the discovery of potential vaccines against this respiratory disease. A recombinant proline-rich antigen (rAg2/Pra) has been reported to be a leading vaccine candidate. However, contradictory results exist on the protection afforded by this antigen. Subcutaneous vaccination of either C57BL/6 or BALB/c mice with rAg2/Pra plus adjuvant followed by intraperitoneal challenge with C. posadasii resulted in a significant reduction of the fungal burden at 12 to 14 days postchallenge compared to that in nonvaccinated animals. Use of the same vaccination protocol followed by intranasal (i.n.) challenge of C57BL/6 mice with an equal number of organisms culminated in chronic pulmonary infection or death over a 90-day period. Early studies of Ag2/Pra suggested that it is a component of an immunogenic complex. We reveal in this study that C. posadasii produces a homolog of the reported proline-rich antigen, designated Prp2, which shows 69% protein sequence identity and 86% similarity to Ag2/Pra. Protection against i.n. challenge of C57BL/6 mice was evaluated by vaccination with the single bacterially expressed homolog, rAg2/Pra, or rPrp2 in combination with rAg2/Pra, each in the presence of the same adjuvant. The combined vaccine provided significantly better protection than either of the single recombinant protein vaccines. Results of enzyme-linked immunospot assays of the immunized mice revealed that the two proline-rich homologs contain unique T-cell epitopes. In combination, the recombinant proteins stimulate a more heterogeneous and protective T-cell repertoire than the monovalent vaccines.
Project description:Coccidioides posadasii is a fungal respiratory pathogen which is responsible for recurrent epidemics of San Joaquin Valley fever (coccidioidomycosis) in desert regions of the southwestern United States. Numerous studies have revealed that the cell wall of the parasitic phase of the fungus is a reservoir of immunoreactive macromolecules and a potential source of a vaccine against this mycosis. A 495-bp fragment of a C. posadasii gene which encodes a putative wall-associated, glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored beta-1,3-glucanosyltransferase was identified by computational analysis of the partially sequenced genome of this pathogen. The translated, full-length gene (GEL1) showed high sequence homology to a reported beta-1,3-glucanosyltransferase of Aspergillus fumigatus (70% identity, 90% similarity) and was selected for further study. The GEL1 mRNA of C. posadasii was detected at the highest level during the endosporulation stage of the parasitic cycle, and the mature protein was immunolocalized to the surface of endospores. BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice were immunized subcutaneously with the bacterium-expressed recombinant protein (rGel1p) to evaluate its protective efficacy against a lethal challenge of C. posadasii by either the intraperitoneal or intranasal route. In both cases, rGel1p-immune mice infected with the pathogen showed a significant reduction in fungal burden and increased survival compared to nonimmune mice. The recombinant beta-1,3-glucanosyltransferase is a valuable addition to an arsenal of immunoreactive proteins which could be incorporated into a human vaccine against coccidioidomycosis.
Project description:Coccidioidomycosis is a human fungal disease cause by inhalation of aerosol spores produced by Coccidioides posadasii or Coccidioides immitis. This disease is a common cause of community-acquired pneumonia in the endemic areas of the Southwestern United States. It also can present as a life-threatening disease as the fungal cells disseminate to skin, bone, and central nervous system. The outcome of coccidioidomycosis is largely determined by the nature of host immune response to the infection. Escalation of symptomatic infections and increased cost of long-term antifungal treatment warrant a concerted effort to better understand the innate and adaptive immune responses and the genetics associated with coccidioidomycosis susceptibility. This knowledge can be harnessed for development of a human vaccine against Coccidioides and advance clinic management of this disease. This review discusses recently reported studies on innate and adaptive immunity to Coccidioides infection, Mendelian susceptibility to disseminated disease and progress toward a human vaccine against this formidable disease.
Project description:There is an emerging interest to develop human vaccines against medically-important fungal pathogens and a need for a preclinical animal model to assess vaccine efficacies and protective correlates. HLA-DR4 (DRB1?0401 allele) transgenic mice express a human major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC II) receptor in such a way that CD4+ T-cell response is solely restricted by this human molecule. In this study HLA-DR4 transgenic mice were immunized with a live-attenuated vaccine (?T) and challenged by the intranasal route with 50-70 Coccidioides posadasii spores, a potentially lethal dose. The same vaccination regimen offers 100% survival for C57BL/6 mice. Conversely, ?T-vaccinated HLA-DR4 mice displayed 3 distinct manifestations of Coccidioides infection including 40% fatal acute (FAD), 30% disseminated (DD) and 30% pulmonary disease (PD). The latter 2 groups of mice had reduced loss of body weight and survived to at least 50days postchallenge (dpc). These results suggest that ?T vaccinated HLA-DR4 mice activated heterogeneous immunity against pulmonary Coccidioides infection. Vaccinated HLA-DR4 mice displayed early expansion of Th1 and Th17 cells and recruitment of inflammatory innate cells into Coccidioides-infected lungs during the first 9dpc. While contraction rates of Th cells and the inflammatory response during 14-35dpc significantly differed among the 3 groups of vaccinated HLA-DR4 mice. The FAD group displayed a sharply reduced Th1 and Th17 response, while overwhelmingly recruiting neutrophils into lungs during 9-14days. The FAD group approached moribund by 14dpc. In contrast, vaccinated HLA-DR4 survivors gradually contracted Th cells and inflammatory response with the greatest rate in the PD group. While vaccinated HLA-DR4 mice are susceptible to Coccidioides infection, they are useful for evaluation of vaccine efficacy and identification of immunological correlates against this mycosis.
Project description:Depletion or dysfunction of CD4+ T lymphocytes profoundly perturbs host defenses and impairs immunogenicity of vaccines. Here, we show that plasmid DNA vaccination with a cassette encoding antigen (OVA) and a second cassette encoding full-length CD40 ligand (CD40L), a molecule expressed on activated CD4+ T lymphocytes and critical for T cell helper function, can elicit significant titers of antigen-specific immunoglobulins in serum and Tc1 CD8+ T cell responses in CD4-deficient mice. To investigate whether this approach leads to CD4+ T cell-independent vaccine protection against a prototypic AIDS-defining infection, Pneumocystis (PC) pneumonia, we used serum from mice vaccinated with PC-pulsed, CD40L-modified DCs to immunoprecipitate PC antigens. Kexin, a PC antigen identified by this approach, was used in a similar DNA vaccine strategy with or without CD40L. CD4-deficient mice receiving DNA vaccines encoding Kexin and CD40L showed significantly higher anti-PC IgG titers as well as opsonic killing of PC compared with those vaccinated with Kexin alone. Moreover, CD4-depleted, Kexin-vaccinated mice showed a 3-log greater protection in a PC challenge model. Adoptive transfer of CD19+ cells or IgG to SCID mice conferred protection against PC challenge, indicating a role of humoral immunity in the protection. The results of these studies show promise for CD4-independent vaccination against HIV-related or other opportunistic pathogens.