Interleukin-17B (IL-17B) is a protective cytokine of the IL-17 family and plays an essential role in the regulation of mucosal inflammation. However, little is known about the role of IL-17B in the control of viral infections. In this study, a recombinant Lactobacillus plantarum
, designated as NC8-ChIL17B, was constructed to express the chicken IL-17B
) gene. The recombinant ChIL17B (rChIL17B) protein was about 14 kDa and was anchored to the surface of NC8 cells. In vitro, it was found that the rChIL17B protein inhibited the proliferation of the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) through activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and the JAK (Janus kinase)-STAT (signal transducers and activators of transcription) signaling. Moreover, to evaluate the immunoadjuvant activities of NC8-ChIL17B, 40 three-day-old specific pathogen-free (SPF) chickens were divided into four groups. Three groups were orally vaccinated with fresh NC8, NC8-ChIL17B, and phosphate buffered saline (PBS), along with the infectious bronchitis virus vaccine, and the other group was the PBS-negative control. The results of the IBV-specific antibody titer and the concentration of the cytokines IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) in sera, as well as the concentration of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in the tracheal and small intestinal mucosa, the number of cluster of differentiation 4 positive (CD4+
) and cluster of differentiation 8 positive (CD8+
) T cells in the blood, and the expression of immune-related genes all indicated that NC8-ChIL17B efficiently enhanced the humoral and cellular immune responses to IBV vaccine. Moreover, the viral loads in the NC8-ChIL17B- and IBV-vaccinated group were significantly lower than in the control groups, suggesting a significant promotion of the immunoprotection of IBV vaccination against the virulent IBV strain. Therefore, ChIL-17B is a promising, effective adjuvant candidate for chicken virus vaccines.
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