Infections with the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei (melioidosis) are associated with high mortality, and there is currently no approved vaccine to prevent the development of melioidosis in humans. Infected patients also do not develop protective immunity to reinfection, and some individuals will develop chronic, subclinical infections with B. pseudomallei. At present, our understanding of what constitutes effective protective immunity against B. pseudomallei infection remains incomplete. Therefore, we conducted a study to elucidate immune correlates of vaccine-induced protective immunity against acute B. pseudomallei infection. BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were immunized subcutaneously with a highly attenuated, Select Agent-excluded purM deletion mutant of B. pseudomallei (strain Bp82) and then subjected to intranasal challenge with virulent B. pseudomallei strain 1026b. Immunization with Bp82 generated significant protection from challenge with B. pseudomallei, and protection was associated with a significant reduction in bacterial burden in lungs, liver, and spleen of immunized mice. Humoral immunity was critically important for vaccine-induced protection, as mice lacking B cells were not protected by immunization and serum from Bp82-vaccinated mice could transfer partial protection to nonvaccinated animals. In contrast, vaccineinduced protective immunity was found to be independent of both CD4 and CD8 T cells. Tracking studies demonstrated uptake of the Bp82 vaccine strain predominately by neutrophils in vaccine-draining lymph nodes and by smaller numbers of dendritic cells (DC) and monocytes. We concluded that protection following cutaneous immunization with a live attenuated Burkholderia vaccine strain was dependent primarily on generation of effective humoral immune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases