Improving the Immunogenicity of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG Vaccine by Non-Genetic Bacterial Surface Decoration Using the Avidin-Biotin System
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2015|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Current strategies to improve the current BCG vaccine attempt to over-express genes encoding specific M. tuberculosis (Mtb) antigens and/or regulators of antigen presentation function, which indeed have the potential to reshape BCG in many ways. However, these approaches often face serious difficulties, in particular the efficiency and stability of gene expression via nucleic acid complementation and safety concerns associated with the introduction of exogenous DNA. As an alternative, we developed a novel non-genetic approach for rapid and efficient display of exogenous proteins on bacterial cell surface. The technology involves expression of proteins of interest in fusion with a mutant version of monomeric avidin that has the feature of reversible binding to biotin. Fusion proteins are then used to decorate the surface of biotinylated BCG. Surface coating of BCG with recombinant proteins was highly reproducible and stable. It also resisted to the freeze-drying shock routinely used in manufacturing conventional BCG. Modifications of BCG surface did not affect its growth in culture media neither its survival within the host cell. Macrophages phagocytized coated BCG bacteria, which efficiently delivered their surface cargo of avidin fusion proteins to MHC class I and class II antigen presentation compartments. Thereafter, chimeric proteins corresponding to a surrogate antigen derived from ovalbumin and the Mtb specific ESAT6 antigen were generated and tested for immunogenicity in vaccinated mice. We found that BCG displaying ovalbumin antigen induces an immune response with a magnitude similar to that induced by BCG genetically expressing the same surrogate antigen. We also found that BCG decorated with Mtb specific antigen ESAT6 successfully induces the expansion of specific T cell responses. This novel technology, therefore, represents a practical and effective alternative to DNA-based gene expression for upgrading the current BCG vaccine.