Send to

Choose Destination
Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013 Jul;79(13):3917-25. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00714-13. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Alga-produced cholera toxin-Pfs25 fusion proteins as oral vaccines.

Author information

Division of Biological Sciences and the San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.


Infectious diseases disproportionately affect indigent regions and are the greatest cause of childhood mortality in developing countries. Practical, low-cost vaccines for use in these countries are paramount to reducing disease burdens and concomitant poverty. Algae are a promising low-cost system for producing vaccines that can be orally delivered, thereby avoiding expensive purification and injectable delivery. We engineered the chloroplast of the eukaryotic alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to produce a chimeric protein consisting of the 25-kDa Plasmodium falciparum surface protein (Pfs25) fused to the β subunit of the cholera toxin (CtxB) to investigate an alga-based whole-cell oral vaccine. Pfs25 is a promising malaria transmission-blocking vaccine candidate that has been difficult to produce in traditional recombinant systems due to its structurally complex tandem repeats of epidermal growth factor-like domains. The noncatalytic CtxB domain of the cholera holotoxin assembles into a pentameric structure and acts as a mucosal adjuvant by binding GM1 ganglioside receptors on gut epithelial cells. We demonstrate that CtxB-Pfs25 accumulates as a soluble, properly folded and functional protein within algal chloroplasts, and it is stable in freeze-dried alga cells at ambient temperatures. In mice, oral vaccination using freeze-dried algae that produce CtxB-Pfs25 elicited CtxB-specific serum IgG antibodies and both CtxB- and Pfs25-specific secretory IgA antibodies. These data suggest that algae are a promising system for production and oral delivery of vaccine antigens, but as an orally delivered adjuvant, CtxB is best suited for eliciting secretory IgA antibodies for vaccine antigens against pathogens that invade mucosal surfaces using this strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center