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A chimeric protein comprising the immunogenic domains of Mannheimia haemolytica leukotoxin and outer membrane protein PlpE induces antibodies against leukotoxin and PlpE

Batra, Sai Arun, Shanthalingam, Sudarvili, Donofrio, Gaetano, Srikumaran, Subramaniam
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2016 v.175 pp. 36-41
Mannheimia haemolytica, Ovis canadensis, antibodies, cytotoxicity, epitopes, habitats, immune response, leukotoxins, mice, mortality, outer membrane proteins, pathogens, pneumonia, recombinant fusion proteins, ruminants, surface antigens, vaccination, vaccine development, vaccines, virulence, North America
Mannheimia haemolytica is a very important pathogen of pneumonia in ruminants. Bighorn sheep (BHS, Ovis canadensis) are highly susceptible to M. haemolytica-caused pneumonia which has significantly contributed to the drastic decline of bighorn sheep population in North America. Pneumonia outbreaks in wild BHS can cause mortality as high as 90%. Leukotoxin is the critical virulence factor of M. haemolytica. In a ‘proof of concept’ study, an experimental vaccine containing leukotoxin and surface antigens of M. haemolytica developed by us induced 100% protection of BHS, but required multiple booster injections. Vaccination of wild BHS is difficult. But they can be vaccinated at the time of transplantation into a new habitat. Administration of booster doses, however, is impossible. Therefore, a vaccine that does not require booster doses is necessary to immunize BHS against M. haemolytica pneumonia. Herpesviruses are ideal vectors for development of such a vaccine because of their ability to undergo latency with subsequent reactivation. As the first step towards developing a herpesvirus-vectored vaccine, we constructed a chimeric protein comprising the leukotoxin-neutralizing epitopes and the immuno-dominant epitopes of the outer membrane protein PlpE. The chimeric protein was efficiently expressed in primary BHS lung cells. The immunogenicity of the chimeric protein was evaluated in mice before inoculating BHS. Mice immunized with the chimeric protein developed antibodies against M. haemolytica leukotoxin and PlpE. More importantly, the anti-leukotoxin antibodies effectively neutralized leukotoxin-induced cytotoxicity. Taken together, these results represent the successful completion of the first step towards developing a herpesvirus-vectored vaccine for controlling M. haemolytica pneumonia in BHS, and possibly other ruminants.