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Open AccessArticle

A Canine-Directed Chimeric Multi-Epitope Vaccine Induced Protective Immune Responses in BALB/c Mice Infected with Leishmania infantum

1
Immunology of Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, 11521 Athens, Greece
2
Laboratory of Bacteriology, Department of Microbiology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, 11521 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Vaccines 2020, 8(3), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8030350
Received: 27 May 2020 / Revised: 26 June 2020 / Accepted: 28 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
Leishmaniases are complex vector-borne diseases caused by intracellular parasites of the genus Leishmania. The visceral form of the disease affects both humans and canids in tropical, subtropical, and Mediterranean regions. One health approach has suggested that controlling zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) could have an impact on the reduction of the human incidence of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Despite the fact that a preventive vaccination could help with leishmaniasis elimination, effective vaccines that are able to elicit protective immune responses are currently lacking. In the present study, we designed a chimeric multi-epitope protein composed of multiple CD8+ and CD4+ T cell epitopes which were obtained from six highly immunogenic proteins previously identified by an immunoproteomics approach, and the N-termini of the heparin-binding hemagglutinin (HBHA) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis served as an adjuvant. A preclinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine in BALB/c mice showed that when it was given along with the adjuvant Addavax it was able to induce strong immune responses. Cellular responses were dominated by the presence of central and effector multifunctional CD4+ and CD8+ T memory cells. Importantly, the vaccination reduced the parasite burden in both short-term and long-term vaccinated mice challenged with Leishmania infantum. Protection was characterized by the continuing presence of IFN-γ+TNFα+-producing CD8+ and CD4+ T cells and increased NO levels. The depletion of CD8+ T cells in short-term vaccinated mice conferred a significant loss of protection in both target organs of the parasite, indicating a significant involvement of this population in the protection against L. infantum challenge. Thus, the overall data could be considered to be a proof-of-concept that the design of efficacious T cell vaccines with the help of reverse vaccinology approaches is possible. View Full-Text
Keywords: reverse vaccinology; bioinformatics; multi-epitope vaccine; chimeric protein; T cells; adaptive immunity; innate immunity; long-term protection; visceral leishmaniasis reverse vaccinology; bioinformatics; multi-epitope vaccine; chimeric protein; T cells; adaptive immunity; innate immunity; long-term protection; visceral leishmaniasis
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Agallou, M.; Margaroni, M.; Kotsakis, S.D.; Karagouni, E. A Canine-Directed Chimeric Multi-Epitope Vaccine Induced Protective Immune Responses in BALB/c Mice Infected with Leishmania infantum. Vaccines 2020, 8, 350.

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