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Vaccine. 1999 Mar 26;17(13-14):1643-9.

New strategies for combination vaccines based on the extended recombinant bacterial ghost system.

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Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, University of Vienna, Austria.


Controlled expression of cloned PhiX174 gene E in Gram-negative bacteria results in lysis of the bacteria by formation of an E-specific transmembrane tunnel structure built through the cell envelope complex. Bacterial ghosts have been produced from a great variety of bacteria and are used as non-living candidate vaccines. In the recombinant ghost system, foreign proteins are attached on the inside of the inner membrane as fusions with specific anchor sequences. Ghosts have a sealed periplasmic space and the export of proteins into this space vastly extents the capacity of ghosts or recombinant ghosts to function as carriers of foreign antigens, immunomodulators or other substances. In addition, S-layer proteins forming shell-like self assembly structures can be expressed in bacterial candidate vaccine strains prior to E-mediated lysis. Such recombinant S-layer proteins carrying inserts of foreign epitopes of up to 600 amino acids within the flexible surface loop areas of the S-layer further extend the possibilities of ghosts as carriers of foreign epitopes. As ghosts do not need the addition of adjuvants to induce immunity in experimental animals they can also be used as carriers or targeting vehicles or as adjuvants in combination with subunit vaccines. Matrixes like dextran which can be used to fill the internal lumen of ghosts can be substituted with various ligands to bind the subunit or other materials of interest. Oral, aerogenic or parenteral immunization of experimental animals with recombinant ghosts induced specific humoral and cellular immune responses against bacterial and target components including protective mucosal immunity. The most relevant advantage of ghosts and recombinant bacterial ghosts as immunogens is that no inactivation procedures that denature relevant immunogenic determinants are employed in the production of ghosts. This fact explains the superior quality of ghosts when compared to other inactivated vaccines. As carriers of foreign antigens there is no limitation in the size of foreign antigens to be inserted and the capacity of all spaces including the membranes, periplasma and internal lumen of the ghosts can be fully utilized. Using the different building blocks and combining them into the recombinant ghost system represents a new strategy for adjuvant free combination vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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