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Vaccine. 2012 Sep 7;30(41):5942-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.07.038. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

In vitro assessment of halobacterial gas vesicles as a Chlamydia vaccine display and delivery system.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, United States.


Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading cause of bacterial sexually transmitted disease worldwide and while antibiotic treatment is effective in eliminating the pathogen, up to 70% of all infections are asymptomatic. Despite sustained efforts over the past 2 decades, an effective chlamydial vaccine remains elusive, due in large part to the lack of an effective delivery system. We explored the use of gas vesicles derived from Halobacterium salinarium as a potential display and delivery vehicle for chlamydial antigens of vaccine interest. Various size gene fragments coding for the major outer membrane protein (MOMP), outer membrane complex B (OmcB) and polymorphic outer membrane protein D (PompD) were integrated into and expressed as part of the gas vesicle protein C (gvpC) on the surface of these stable structures. The presence of the recombinant proteins was confirmed by Western blots probed using anti-gvpC and anti-Chlamydia antibodies as well as sera from Chlamydia-positive patients. Tissue culture evaluation revealed stability and a time-dependent degradation of recombinant gas vesicles (r-Gv) in human and animal cell lines. In vitro assessment using human foreskin fibroblasts (HFF) confirmed Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and 5 engagement by wild type and r-Gv, leading to MyD88 activation, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12 production. The data suggest that r-GV could be an effective, naturally adjuvanting, time-release antigen delivery system for immunologically relevant Chlamydia vaccine antigens which are readily recognized by human immune sera.

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