Prime–boost bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccination with lentivirus-vectored and DNA-based vaccines expressing antigens Ag85B and Rv3425 improves protective efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in mice

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Summary

To prevent the global spread of tuberculosis (TB), more effective vaccines and vaccination strategies are urgently needed. As a result of the success of bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) in protecting children against miliary and meningeal TB, the majority of individuals will have been vaccinated with BCG; hence, boosting BCG-primed immunity will probably be a key component of future vaccine strategies. In this study, we compared the ability of DNA-, protein- and lentiviral vector-based vaccines that express the antigens Ag85B and Rv3425 to boost the effects of BCG in the context of immunity and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis in C57BL/6 mice. Our results demonstrated that prime–boost BCG vaccination with a lentiviral vector expressing the antigens Ag85B and Rv3425 significantly enhanced immune responses, including T helper type 1 and CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, compared with DNA- and protein-based vaccines. However, lentivirus-vectored and DNA-based vaccines greatly improved the protective efficacy of BCG against M. tuberculosis, as indicated by a lack of weight loss and significantly reduced bacterial loads and histological damage in the lung. Our study suggests that the use of lentiviral or DNA vaccines containing the antigens Ag85B and Rv3425 to boost BCG is a good choice for the rational design of an efficient vaccination strategy against TB.

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