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Infect Immun. 2007 Feb;75(2):941-9. Epub 2006 Dec 4.

Immunogenicity of eight dormancy regulon-encoded proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in DNA-vaccinated and tuberculosis-infected mice.

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  • 1Mycobacterial Immunology, WIV-Pasteur Institute Brussels, 642 Engelandstraat, B1180 Brussels, Belgium.


Hypoxia and low concentrations of nitric oxide have been reported to upregulate in vitro gene expression of 48 proteins of the dormancy (DosR) regulon of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These proteins are thought to be essential for the survival of bacteria during persistence in vivo and are targeted by the immune system during latent infection in humans. Here we have analyzed the immunogenicity of eight DosR regulon-encoded antigens by plasmid DNA vaccination of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice, i.e., Rv1733c, Rv1738, Rv2029c (pfkB), Rv2031c/hspX (acr), Rv2032 (acg), Rv2626c, Rv2627c, and Rv2628. Strong humoral and/or cellular Th1-type (interleukin-2 and gamma interferon) immune responses could be induced against all but one (Rv1738) of these antigens. The strongest Th1 responses were measured following vaccination with DNA encoding Rv2031c and Rv2626c. Using synthetic 20-mer overlapping peptides, 11 immunodominant, predicted major histocompatibility complex class II-restricted epitopes and one K(d)-restricted T-cell epitope could be identified. BALB/c and (B6D2)F(1) mice persistently infected with M. tuberculosis developed immune responses against Rv1733c, Rv2031c, and Rv2626c. These findings have implications for proof-of-concept studies in mice mimicking tuberculosis (TB) latency models and their extrapolation to humans for potential new vaccination strategies against TB.

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