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Vaccine. 2014 Mar 14;32(13):1451-9. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.01.036. Epub 2014 Feb 6.

Immunization with a DNA adenine methylase over-producing Yersinia pseudotuberculosis vaccine confers robust cross-protection against heterologous pathogenic serotypes.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Electronic address:


Yersinia pseudotuberculosis is a foodborne pathogen that can cause serious human illness. Although the source and route of transmission often remain obscure, livestock have been implicated in some cases. The diversity of yersiniae present on farms and their widespread distribution in animal and environmental reservoirs necessitates the use of broad prophylactic strategies that are efficacious against many serotypes simultaneously. Herein, immunization of mice with a modified, live attenuated Y. pseudotuberculosis vaccine that overproduces the DNA adenine methylase (Dam(OP)) conferred robust protection against virulent challenge (150-fold LD50) with homologous and heterologous serotypes that have been associated with human disease (O:1, O:1a, O:3). Further, the dam gene was shown to be essential for cell viability in all (7 of 7) Y. pseudotuberculosis strains tested. Direct selection for the inheritance of dam mutant alleles in Y. pseudotuberculosis resulted in dam strain variants that contained compensatory (second-site suppressor) mutations in genes encoding methyl-directed mismatch repair proteins (mutHLS) that are involved in suppression of the non-viable cell phenotype in all (19/19) strains tested. Such dam mutH variants exhibited a significant increase in virulence and spontaneous mutation frequency relative to that of a Dam(OP) vaccine strain. These studies indicate that Y. pseudotuberculosis Dam(OP) strains conferred potent cross-protective efficacy as well as decreased virulence and spontaneous mutation frequency relative to those that lack Dam, which have compensatory mutations in mutHLS loci. These data suggest that development of yersiniae livestock vaccines based on Dam overproduction is a viable mitigation strategy to reduce these potential foodborne contaminants.


Cross-protective Yersinia vaccine; DNA adenine methylation; Yersinia dam livestock vaccine; Yersinia pseudotuberculosis; mutHLS

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