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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2015 Sep;22(9):1060-9. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00271-15. Epub 2015 Jul 22.

Synthetic Long Peptide Derived from Mycobacterium tuberculosis Latency Antigen Rv1733c Protects against Tuberculosis.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands


Responsible for 9 million new cases of active disease and nearly 2 million deaths each year, tuberculosis (TB) remains a global health threat of overwhelming dimensions. Mycobacterium bovis BCG, the only licensed vaccine available, fails to confer lifelong protection and to prevent reactivation of latent infection. Although 15 new vaccine candidates are now in clinical trials, an effective vaccine against TB remains elusive, and new strategies for vaccination are vital. BCG vaccination fails to induce immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis latency antigens. Synthetic long peptides (SLPs) combined with adjuvants have been studied mostly for therapeutic cancer vaccines, yet not for TB, and proved to induce efficient antitumor immunity. This study investigated an SLP derived from Rv1733c, a major M. tuberculosis latency antigen which is highly expressed by "dormant" M. tuberculosis and well recognized by T cells from latently M. tuberculosis-infected individuals. In order to assess its in vivo immunogenicity and protective capacity, Rv1733c SLP in CpG was administered to HLA-DR3 transgenic mice. Immunization with Rv1733c SLP elicited gamma interferon-positive/tumor necrosis factor-positive (IFN-γ(+)/TNF(+)) and IFN-γ(+) CD4(+) T cells and Rv1733c-specific antibodies and led to a significant reduction in the bacterial load in the lungs of M. tuberculosis-challenged mice. This was observed both in a pre- and in a post-M. tuberculosis challenge setting. Moreover, Rv1733c SLP immunization significantly boosted the protective efficacy of BCG, demonstrating the potential of M. tuberculosis latency antigens to improve BCG efficacy. These data suggest a promising role for M. tuberculosis latency antigen Rv1733c-derived SLPs as a novel TB vaccine approach, both in a prophylactic and in a postinfection setting.

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