A balanced-lethal plasmid expression system that switches from low-copy-number to runaway-like high-copy-number replication (pYA4534) was constructed for the regulated delayed in vivo synthesis of heterologous antigens by vaccine strains. This is an antibiotic resistance-free maintenance system containing the asdA gene (essential for peptidoglycan synthesis) as a selectable marker to complement the lethal chromosomal ΔasdA allele in live recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccines (RASVs) such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain χ9447. pYA4534 harbors two origins of replication, pSC101 and pUC (low and high copy numbers, respectively). The pUC replication origin is controlled by a genetic switch formed by the operator/promoter of the P22 cro gene (O/Pcro) (PR), which is negatively regulated by an arabinose-inducible P22 c2 gene located on both the plasmid and the chromosome (araC PBAD c2). The absence of arabinose, which is unavailable in vivo, triggers replication to a high-copy-number plasmid state. To validate these vector attributes, the Yersinia pestis virulence antigen LcrV was used to develop a vaccine against plague. An lcrV sequence encoding amino acids 131 to 326 (LcrV196) was optimized for expression in Salmonella, flanked with nucleotide sequences encoding the signal peptide (SS) and the carboxy-terminal domain (CT) of β-lactamase, and cloned into pYA4534 under the control of the Ptrc promoter to generate plasmid pYA4535. Our results indicate that the live Salmonella vaccine strain χ9447 harboring pYA4535 efficiently stimulated a mixed Th1/Th2 immune response that protected mice against lethal challenge with Y. pestis strain CO92 introduced through either the intranasal or subcutaneous route.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases