Bacillus subtilis spores have been used as safe and heat-resistant antigen delivery vectors. Nonetheless, the oral administration of spores typically induces weak immune responses to the passenger antigens, which may be attributed to the fast transit through the gastrointestinal tract. To overcome this limitation, we have developed B. subtilis spores capable of binding to the gut epithelium by means of expressing bacterial adhesins on the spore surface. The resulting spores bound to in vitro intestinal cells, showed a longer transit through the mouse intestinal tract, and interacted with Peyer's patch cells. The adhesive spores increased the systemic and secreted antibody responses to the Streptococcus mutans P1 protein, used as a model antigen, following oral, intranasal, and sublingual administration. Additionally, P1-specific antibodies efficiently inhibited the adhesion of the oral pathogen Streptococcus mutans to abiotic surfaces. These results support the use of gut-colonizing B. subtilis spores as a new platform for the mucosal delivery of vaccine antigens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases