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Vaccine. 2010 Dec 16;29(2):357-62. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.08.099. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

TNFα and IFNγ contribute to F1/LcrV-targeted immune defense in mouse models of fully virulent pneumonic plague.

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Trudeau Institute, 154 Algonquin Avenue, Saranac Lake, NY 12983, USA.


Immunization with the Yersinia pestis F1 and LcrV proteins improves survival in mouse and non-human primate models of pneumonic plague. F1- and LcrV-specific antibodies contribute to protection, however, the mechanisms of antibody-mediated defense are incompletely understood and serum antibody titers do not suffice as quantitative correlates of protection. Previously we demonstrated roles for tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) and gamma-interferon (IFNγ) during defense against conditionally attenuated pigmentation (pgm) locus-negative Y. pestis. Here, using intranasal challenge with fully virulent pgm-positive Y. pestis strain CO92, we demonstrate that neutralizing TNFα and IFNγ interferes with the capacity of therapeutically administered F1- or LcrV-specific antibody to reduce bacterial burden and increase survival. Moreover, using Y. pestis strain CO92 in an aerosol challenge model, we demonstrate that neutralizing TNFα and IFNγ interferes with protection conferred by immunization with recombinant F1-LcrV fusion protein vaccine (p<0.0005). These findings establish that TNFα and IFNγ contribute to protection mediated by pneumonic plague countermeasures targeting F1 and LcrV, and suggest that an individual's capacity to produce these cytokines in response to Y. pestis challenge will be an important co-determinant of antibody-mediated defense against pneumonic plague.

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