Evaluation of 4 merozoite antigens as candidate vaccines against Eimeria tenella infection.
ABSTRACT: Coccidiosis, caused by parasites of the genus Eimeria, is one of the most widespread and economically detrimental diseases in the global poultry industry. Because the merozoite stage of Eimeria tenella is immunologically vulnerable, motile, and functionally important for the parasites, the proteins expressed in these stages are considered to be potentially immunoprotective antigens, especially the secreted antigens and surface antigens. Here, we detected a previously unidentified MIC2-associated protein (Et-M2AP) from E. tenella and determined its localization. An immunofluorescence assay revealed that Et-M2AP was distributed in the apical part of second generation merozoites and sporozoites. In addition, an expression profile analysis revealed that the transcriptional level of Et-M2AP is significantly higher in the merozoite stage. To assess the potential of Et-M2AP protein as a coccidiosis vaccine, we expressed recombinant Et-M2AP (rEt-M2AP) and compared the immune protective efficacy of rEt-M2AP with 3 surface antigens that are highly expressed by merozoites (rEt-SAG23, rEt-SAG16, and rEt-SAG2 proteins). The immune protective efficacy of these vaccine candidates was assessed based on survival rate, lesion score, BW gain, relative BW gain, and oocyst output. The results show that the survival rate was 90%, which are significantly higher than those in the challenge control group. The BW gain rate was 42% (P < 0.001) in rEt-M2AP-immunized chickens, which are significantly higher than those in the challenge control group and rEt-SAG23, rEt-SAG16, and rEt-SAG2 proteins-immunized chickens. In addition, chickens immunized with rEt-M2AP (88% oocyst output decrease rate, P < 0.001) had the least oocyst output, compared with those immunized with rEt-SAG16 (59.2% oocyst output decrease rate, P < 0.001), rEt-SAG23 (22% oocyst output decrease rate), and rEt-SAG2 (1.36% oocyst output decrease rate). These results demonstrate that rEt-M2AP provided effective protection against challenge with E. tenella, suggesting that rEt-M2AP is a promising candidate antigen gene for development as a coccidiosis vaccine.
Project description:Eimeria tenella (E. tenella) is a highly pathogenic and prevalent species of Eimeria that infects chickens, and it causes a considerable disease burden worldwide. The secreted proteins and surface antigens of E. tenella at the sporozoite stage play an essential role in the host-parasite interaction, which involves attachment and invasion, and these interactions are considered vaccine candidates based on the strategy of cutting off the invasion pathway to interrupt infection. We selected two highly expressed surface antigens (SAGs; Et-SAG13 and Et-SAG) and two highly expressed secreted antigens (rhoptry kinases Eten5-A, Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and dense granule 12, Et-GRA12) at the sporozoite stage. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A and Et-GRA12 were two unexplored proteins. Et-ROPK-Eten5-A was an E. tenella-specific rhoptry (ROP) protein and distributed in the apical pole of sporozoites and merozoites. Et-GRA12 was scattered in granular form at the sporozoite stage. To evaluate the potential of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG proteins as a coccidiosis vaccine, the protective efficacy was examined based on survival rate, lesion score, body weight gain, relative body weight gain and oocyst output. The survival rate was significantly improved in rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A (100%) and rEt-GRA12 (100%) immune chickens compared to the challenged control group (40%). The average body weight gains of rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A, rEt-GRA12, rEt-SAG13 and rEt-SAG immunized chickens were significantly higher than those of unimmunized chickens. The mean lesion score and oocyst output of the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A immunized chickens were significantly reduced compared to unimmunized challenged chickens. These results suggest that the rEt-ROPK-Eten5-A protein effectively triggered protection against E. tenella in chickens and provides a useful foundation for future work developing anticoccidial vaccines.
Project description:Eimeria tenella is a protozoan parasite endemic in chickens and is one of the causative agents of avian coccidiosis. The aim of this research was to determine if poly (D, L-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles carrying recombinant TA4 protein of E. tenella (rEtTA4) could improve the level of protective immunity against E. tenella challenge. Recombinant TA4 protein was expressed and purified. Poly (D, L-lactide-co-glycolide) loaded with rEtTA4 (PLGA-rEtTA4) nanoparticles was prepared and was delivered to 2-week-old layer chickens via intramuscular inoculation. Chickens injected with PBS and PLGA nanoparticles were served as control groups. The rEtTA4 and PLGA-rEtTA4 nanoparticles induced changes of serum cytokines, IgY levels, and T lymphocytes subpopulation, and the protective efficacy against E. tenella challenge was evaluated. Results showed that both rEtTA4 and PLGA-rEtTA4 vaccination groups induced significantly higher levels of specific EtTA4 IgY antibody and IL-17 and higher proportion of CD8<sup>+</sup> T lymphocytes. However, no significant differences were observed in the proportion of CD4<sup>+</sup> T lymphocytes compared with the PBS control. Chickens immunized with rEtTA4 and PLGA-rEtTA4 prominently increased the BW gains and decreased oocyst output compared with chickens immunized with PBS and PLGA after oral challenge with E. tenella. Poly (D, L-lactide-co-glycolide) encapsulated rEtTA4 nanoparticles-immunized chickens significantly induced higher levels of interferon gamma, IL-6, and IL-17 and a little bit higher proportion of CD8<sup>+</sup> T lymphocytes compared with rEtTA4 subunit vaccine-immunized chickens. Thus, PLGA encapsulated rEtTA4 nanoparticles appeared to have great potential to enhance the immune response and improved the protective efficacy against E. tenella infection. Our results provided available protective subunit vaccine rEtTA4 and PLGA loaded with rEtTA4 nanoparticles against coccidiosis and suggested that PLGA nanoparticles could be an effective adjuvant to enhance the protective efficacy of rEtTA4 subunit vaccine.
Project description:Avian coccidiosis is an economically important disease in the poultry industry. In view of the disadvantages of anti-coccidial drugs in chickens, edible plants and their compounds are re-emerging as an alternative strategy to combat this disease. A previous publication reported that the edible plant B. pilosa showed promise for use against coccidiosis. Here, we first investigated into the anti-coccidial effects of B. pilosa. We found that B. pilosa at 100 ppm or more significantly suppressed E. tenella as evidenced by reduction in mortality rate, oocyst excretion and gut pathological severity in chickens and its minimum prophylactic duration was 3 days. Next, we explored the mode of action of anti-coccidial mechanism of B. pilosa. The E. tenella oocysts were not directly killed by B. pilosa; however, administration of the plant suppressed oocyst sporulation, sporozoite invasion, and schizonts in the life cycle of E. tenella. Besides, B. pilosa boosted T cell-mediated immunity. Finally, we characterized the related anti-coccidial phytochemicals and their mode of action. One of three potent polyynes present in B. pilsoa, Compound 1 (cytopiloyne), acted against coccidiosis in chickens in a similar manner to B. pilosa. These data illustrate the anti-coccidial potency and mechanism of B. pilosa and one of its active compounds, and provide a cornerstone for development of novel herbal remedies for avian coccidiosis.
Project description:Coccidiosis is one of the most serious diseases of livestock and birds in the world. Vaccination with live-parasite anticoccidial vaccines with genetic manipulation improving the immunogenicity of vaccine strains would be the best means for controlling coccidiosis in breeder and layer stocks, even in fast-growing broilers. Profilin from apicomplexan parasites is the first molecularly defined ligand for Toll-like receptor 11 (TLR11) and TLR12 in mice and is a potential molecular adjuvant. Here, we constructed a transgenic Eimeria tenella line (Et-EmPro) expressing the profilin of Eimeria maxima, the most immunogenic species of chicken coccidia, and evaluated the adjuvant effects of EmPro on the immunogenicity of E. tenella We found that immunization with the transgenic Eimeria parasites, compared with the wild type, elicited greater parasite antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity, characterized by increased numbers of interferon gamma (IFN-?)-secreting lymphocytes. The transgenic parasite also induced better protective immunity against E. tenella challenge than the wild type. In addition, the diversity of the fecal microbiome of the birds immunized with the transgenic parasite differed from that of the microbiome of the wild-type-immunized birds, indicating interactions of Eimeria with the gut microbiome of chickens. Our results showing enhanced immunogenicity of E. tenella by use of EmPro as a molecular adjuvant derived from the most immunogenic affinis species represent a large step forward in the development of the next generation of coccidiosis vaccines using Eimeria as a vaccine platform expressing molecular adjuvants and potentially other pathogen antigens against not only coccidiosis but also other infectious diseases.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Gametocyte proteins of Eimeria (E.) spp. are important components of the oocyst wall and some have been used to develop transmission-blocking vaccines against avian coccidiosis. METHODS: Total RNA isolated from E. necatrix gametocytes was utilized as templates for RT-PCR amplification and sequencing of cDNA encoding a gametocyte protein using gene-specific primers. The cDNA was cloned into the bacterial expression vector pET28a(+) and expressed in E. coli BL21 cells. The antigenicity of the recombinant gametocyte protein and its localization in different E. necatrix life-cycle stages were determined by western blot and indirect immunofluorescence analyses, respectively. RESULTS: A 731-nucleotide sequence of cDNA [GenBank: KF649255] of E. necatrix had 97.7% identity to that of Etgam22 of E. tenella. The cDNA ORF encoded a 186-amino acid protein containing a histidine-proline-rich region. The recombinant gametocyte protein (rEnGAM22) was predominately expressed in the insoluble inclusion body and recognized by antiserum from chickens immunized with oocysts of E. necatrix, E. maxima and E. tenella. A specific antibody to the rEnGAM22 protein recognized the wall-forming bodies in macrogametocytes and the walls of oocysts and sporocysts. CONCLUSIONS: The gene cloned from E. necatrix gametocytes is an ortholog to Etgam22 of E. tenella and presents a potential target for future recombinant subunit vaccines against coccidiosis.
Project description:The protozoan Eimeria tenella is a common parasite of chickens, causing avian coccidiosis, a disease of on-going concern to agricultural industries. The high prevalence of E. tenella can be attributed to the resilient oocyst stage, which is transmitted between hosts in the environment. As in related Coccidia, development of the eimerian oocyst appears to be dependent on completion of the parasite's sexual cycle. RNA Seq transcriptome profiling offers insights into the mechanisms governing the biology of E. tenella sexual stages (gametocytes) and the potential to identify targets for blocking parasite transmission.Comparisons between the sequenced transcriptomes of E. tenella gametocytes and two asexual developmental stages, merozoites and sporozoites, revealed upregulated gametocyte transcription of 863 genes. Many of these genes code for proteins involved in coccidian sexual biology, such as oocyst wall biosynthesis and fertilisation, and some of these were characterised in more depth. Thus, macrogametocyte-specific expression and localisation was confirmed for two proteins destined for incorporation into the oocyst wall, as well as for a subtilisin protease and an oxidoreductase. Homologues of an oocyst wall protein and oxidoreductase were found in the related coccidian, Toxoplasma gondii, and shown to be macrogametocyte-specific. In addition, a microgametocyte gamete fusion protein, EtHAP2, was discovered.The need for novel vaccine candidates capable of controlling coccidiosis is rising and this panel of gametocyte targets represents an invaluable resource for development of future strategies to interrupt parasite transmission, not just in Eimeria but in other Coccidia, including Toxoplasma, where transmission blocking is a relatively unexplored strategy.
Project description:Vaccine delivery is critical in antigen discovery and vaccine efficacy and safety. The diversity of infectious diseases in humans and livestock has required the development of varied delivery vehicles to target different pathogens. In livestock animals, previous strategies for the development of coccidiosis vaccines have encountered several hurdles, limiting the development of multiple species vaccine formulations. Here, we describe a novel vaccine delivery system using transgenic Eimeria tenella expressing immunodominant antigens of Eimeria maxima. In this delivery system, the immune mapped protein 1 of E. maxima (EmIMP1) was delivered by the closely related species of E. tenella to the host immune system during the whole endogenous life cycle. The overexpression of the exogenous antigen did not interfere with the reproduction and immunogenicity of transgenic Eimeria. After immunization with the transgenic parasite, we detected EmIMP1's and E. maxima oocyst antigens' specific humoral and cellular immune responses. In particular, we observed partial protection of chickens immunized with transgenic E. tenella against subsequent E. maxima infections. Our results demonstrate that the transgenic Eimeria parasite is an ideal coccidia antigen delivery vehicle and represents a new type of coccidiosis vaccines. In addition, this model could potentially be used in the development of malaria live sporozoite vaccines, in which antigens from different strains can be expressed in the vaccine strain.
Project description:Avian coccidiosis causes significant economic losses on the global poultry breeding industry. Exploration of new-concept vaccines against coccidiosis has gradually become a research hotspot. In this study, an Enterococcus faecalis strain (MDXEF-1) showing excellent performance isolated from chicken intestinal tract was used as a vector to deliver Eimeria target protein. The plasmid pTX8048-SP-DCpep-NA?3-1E-CWA harboring dendritic cell-targeting peptide (DCpep) fusion with Eimeria tenella NA?3-1E gene (3-1E protein-coding gene without start codon ATG and terminator codon TAA) was electrotransformed into MDXEF-1 to generate the recombinant bacteria MDXEF-1/pTX8048-SP-DCpep-NA?3-1E-CWA in which NA?3-1E protein was covalently anchored to the surface of bacteria cells by cell wall anchor (CWA) sequence. The expression of target fusion protein DCpep-NA?3-1E-CWA was detected by Western blot. Each chicken was immunized 3 times at 2-wk intervals with live E. faecalis expressing DCpep-NA?3-1E fusion protein (DCpep-NA?3-1E group), live E. faecalis expressing NA?3-1E protein (NA?3-1E group), and live E. faecalis containing empty vector only. The 3 immunized groups were then challenged with homologous E. tenella sporulated oocyst after immunizations, and the immune response and protective efficacy in each group were evaluated. The results showed that serum IgG levels, secretory IgA levels in cecal lavage, proportion of CD4+ and CD8?+ cells in peripheral blood, and mRNA expression levels of IL-2 and IFN-? in the spleen were significantly higher in chickens in the DCpep-NA?3-1E group than in chickens of the NA?3-1E group (P < 0.05). Oral immunization to chickens with live E. faecalis expressing DCpep-NA?3-1E offered more protective efficacy against homologous challenge including significant improved body weight gain, increased oocyst decrease ratio, and reduced average lesion scores in cecum compared with chickens with live E. faecalis expressing NA?3-1E protein. These results suggest that recombinant E. faecalis expressing dendritic cell-targeting peptide fusion with E. tenella 3-1E protein could be a potential approach for prevention of Eimeria infection.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Avian coccidiosis is often caused by co-infection with several species of Eimeria worldwide. Developing a multivalent vaccine with an antigen common to multiple Eimeria species is a promising strategy for controlling clinical common co-infection of Eimeria. In the previous study, 14-3-3 was identified as one of the immunogenic common antigen in E. tenella, E. acervulina and E. maxima. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of Ea14-3-3 in the form of DNA vaccine against infection with three species of Eimeria both individually and simultaneously. RESULTS:After vaccination with pVAX-Ea14-3-3, the Ea14-3-3 gene was transcribed and expressed in the injected muscles. Vaccination with pVAX-Ea14-3-3 significantly increased the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes and produced a strong IgY response in immunized chickens. Similarly, pVAX-Ea14-3-3 stimulated the chicken's splenocytes to produce high levels of Th1-type (IFN-?, IL-2) and Th2-type (IL-4) cytokines. The vaccine-induced immune response was responsible to increase weight gain, decreased the oocyst output, and alleviated enteric lesions significantly in immunized chickens as compared to control group, in addition to induce moderate anti-coccidial index (ACI). CONCLUSION:These results indicate that Ea14-3-3 is highly immunogenic and capable to induce significant immune responses. Furthermore, Ea14-3-3 antigen can provide effective protection against infection with Eimeria tenella, Eimeria acervulina, Eimeria maxima both individually and in combination with three Eimeria species. Significant outcomes of our study provide an effective candidate antigen for developing a multivalent Eimeria vaccine against mixed infection with various Eimeria species under natural conditions.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Live anticoccidial vaccines have been a tremendous success for disease prevention. The establishment of the reverse genetic manipulation platform has enabled the development of Eimeria parasites, the live anticoccidial vaccine strains, as vaccine vectors. In our previous study, recombinant E. tenella expressing a single immunodominant antigen of E. maxima (Et-EmIMP1) was able to protect chickens against challenge infection with E. maxima. This promising result encouraged us to further explore strategies to improve the protection efficacy of recombinant Eimeria and develop it as a vaccine vector.<h4>Results</h4>We constructed a novel recombinant Eimeria line expressing apical membrane antigen 1 of E. maxima (Et-EmAMA1) and then immunized chickens with Et-EmAMA1 and/or Et-EmIMP1. We found that the E. maxima soluble antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity was much stronger in the birds that were co-immunized with Et-EmAMA1 and Et-EmIMP1 than in those that were immunized with Et-EmAMA1 or Et-EmIMP1 alone. The oocyst production after E. maxima infection was significantly reduced in the recombinant Eimeria-immunized birds compared with the wild-type-immunized and naïve birds. The oocyst production in the birds co-immunized with Et-EmAMA1 and Et-EmIMP1 was consistently the lowest among the treatment groups after E. maxima infection.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results demonstrated that Eimeria is an effective vaccine vector that can carry and deliver heterologous Eimeria antigens to the host immune system and trigger specific immune responses. Our results also suggested that increasing the number of recombinant Eimeria lines is an effective approach to enhance protective immunity against infections with heterologous pathogens.