Recombinant BCG expressing the LTAK63 adjuvant increased memory T cells and induced long-lasting protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis challenge in mice
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Vaccine-induced protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is usually ascribed to the induction of Th1, Th17, and CD8+ T cells. However, protective immune responses should also involve other immune cell subsets, such as memory T cells. We have previously shown improved protection against Mtb challenge using the rBCG-LTAK63 vaccine (a recombinant BCG strain expressing the LTAK63 adjuvant, a genetically detoxified derivative of the A subunit from E. coli heat-labile toxin). Here we show that mice immunized with rBCG-LTAK63 exhibit a long-term (at least until 6 months) polyfunctional Th1/Th17 response in the draining lymph nodes and in the lungs. This response was accompanied by the increased presence of a diverse set of memory T cells, including central memory, effector memory and tissue-resident memory T cells. After the challenge, the T cell phenotype in the lymph nodes and lungs were characterized by a decrease in central memory T cells, and an increase in effector memory T cells and effector T cells. More importantly, when challenged 6 months after the immunization, this group demonstrated increased protection in comparison to BCG. In conclusion, this work provides experimental evidence in mice that the rBCG-LTAK63 vaccine induces a persistent increase in memory and effector T cell numbers until at least 6 months after immunization, which correlates with increased protection against Mtb. This improved immune response may contribute to enhance the long-term protection.
Marques Neto LM, Trentini MM, Kanno AI, Rodríguez D, Leite LCC. Recombinant BCG expressing the LTAK63 adjuvant increased memory T cells and induced long-lasting protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis challenge in mice. Front. Immunol. 2023 jul; 14. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2023.1205449.
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