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Chloroplast-derived vaccine antigens confer dual immunity against cholera and malaria by oral or injectable delivery


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Cholera and malaria are major diseases causing high mortality. The only licensed cholera vaccine is expensive; immunity is lost in children within 3 years and adults are not fully protected. No vaccine is yet available for malaria. Therefore, in this study, the cholera toxin-B subunit (CTB) of Vibrio cholerae fused to malarial vaccine antigens apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA1) and merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP1) was expressed in lettuce and tobacco chloroplasts. Southern blot analysis confirmed homoplasmy and stable integration of transgenes. CTB-AMA1 and CTB-MSP1 fusion proteins accumulated up to 13.17% and 10.11% (total soluble protein, TSP) in tobacco and up to 7.3% and 6.1% (TSP) in lettuce, respectively. Nine groups of mice (n = 10/group) were immunized subcutaneously (SQV) or orally (ORV) with purified antigens or transplastomic tobacco leaves. Significant levels of antigen-specific antibody titres of immunized mice completely inhibited proliferation of the malarial parasite and cross-reacted with the native parasite proteins in immunoblots and immunofluorescence studies. Protection against cholera toxin challenge in both ORV (100%) and SQV (89%) mice correlated with CTB-specific titres of intestinal, serum IgA and IgG1 in ORV and only IgG1 in SQV mice, but no other immunoglobulin. Increasing numbers of interleukin-10+ T cell but not Foxp3+ regulatory T cells, suppression of interferon-γ and absence of interleukin-17 were observed in protected mice, suggesting that immunity is conferred via the Tr1/Th2 immune response. Dual immunity against two major infectious diseases provided by chloroplast-derived vaccine antigens for long-term (>300 days, 50% of mouse life span) offers a realistic platform for low cost vaccines and insight into mucosal and systemic immunity.

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