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Selected prfA* Mutations in Recombinant Attenuated Listeria monocytogenes Strains Augment Expression of Foreign Immunogens and Enhance Vaccine-Elicited Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses

Yan, Lin, Qiu, Jin, Chen, Jianbo, Ryan-Payseur, Bridgett, Huang, Dan, Wang, Yunqi, Rong, Lijun, Melton-Witt, Jody A., Freitag, Nancy E., Chen, Zheng W.
Infection and immunity 2008 v.76 no.8 pp. 3439-3450
Listeria monocytogenes, antigens, cell-mediated immunity, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genes, humoral immunity, immune response, live vaccines, mice, mutation, proteins, recombinant vaccines, secondary immunization, virulence
While recombinant Listeria monocytogenes strains can be explored as vaccine candidates, it is important to develop attenuated but highly immunogenic L. monocytogenes vaccine vectors. Here, prfA* mutations selected on the basis of upregulated expression of L. monocytogenes PrfA-dependent genes and proteins were assessed to determine their abilities to augment expression of foreign immunogens in recombinant L. monocytogenes vectors and therefore enhance vaccine-elicited immune responses (a prfA* mutation is a mutation that results in constitutive overexpression of PrfA and PrfA-dependent virulence genes; the asterisk distinguishes the mutation from inactivation or stop mutations). A total of 63 recombinant L. monocytogenes vaccine vectors expressing seven individual viral or bacterial immunogens each in nine different L. monocytogenes strains carrying wild-type prfA or having prfA* mutations were constructed and investigated. Mutations selected on the basis of increased PrfA activation in recombinant L. monocytogenes prfA* vaccine vectors augmented expression of seven individual protein immunogens remarkably. Consistently, prime and boost vaccination studies with mice indicated that the prfA(G155S) mutation in recombinant L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* strains enhanced vaccine-elicited cellular immune responses. Surprisingly, the prfA(G155S) mutation was found to enhance vaccine-elicited humoral immune responses as well. The highly immunogenic recombinant L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* vaccine strains were as attenuated as the recombinant parent L. monocytogenes ΔactA vaccine vector. Thus, recombinant attenuated L. monocytogenes ΔactA prfA* vaccine vectors potentially are better antimicrobial and anticancer vaccines.