Division of Microbiology, Institute for Animal Health, Berkshire, United Kingdom. firstname.lastname@example.org
Campylobacter jejuni is a zoonotic bacterial pathogen of worldwide importance. It is estimated that 460,000 human infections occur in the United Kingdom per annum and these involve acute enteritis and may be complicated by severe systemic sequelae. Such infections are frequently associated with the consumption of contaminated poultry meat and strategies to control C. jejuni in poultry are expected to limit pathogen entry into the food chain and the incidence of human disease. Toward this aim, a total of 840 Light Sussex chickens were used to evaluate a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DeltaaroA vaccine expressing the C. jejuni amino acid binding protein CjaA as a plasmid-borne fusion to the C-terminus of fragment C of tetanus toxin. Chickens were given the vaccine at 1-day-old and two weeks later by oral gavage, then challenged after a further two weeks with C. jejuni. Across six biological replicates, statistically significant reductions in caecal C. jejuni of c. 1.4log(10) colony-forming units/g were observed at three and four weeks post-challenge relative to age-matched unvaccinated birds. Protection was associated with the induction of CjaA-specific serum IgY and biliary IgA. Protection was not observed using a vaccine strain containing the empty plasmid. Vaccination with recombinant CjaA subcutaneously at the same intervals significantly reduced the caecal load of C. jejuni at three and four weeks post-challenge. Taken together these data imply that responses directed against CjaA, rather than competitive or cross-protective effects mediated by the carrier, confer protection. The impact of varying parameters on the efficacy of the S. Typhimurium DeltaaroA vaccine expressing TetC-CjaA was also tested. Delaying the age at primary vaccination had little impact on protection or humoral responses to CjaA. The use of the parent strain as carrier or changing the attenuating mutation of the carrier to DeltaspaS or DeltassaU enhanced the protective effect, consistent with increased invasion and persistence of the vaccine strains relative to the DeltaaroA mutant. Expression in the DeltaaroA strain of a TetC fusion to Peb1A, but not TetC fusions to GlnH or ChuA, elicited protection against intestinal colonisation by C. jejuni that was comparable to that observed with the TetC-CjaA fusion. Our data are rendered highly relevant by use of the target host in large numbers and support the potential of CjaA- and Peb1A-based vaccines for control of C. jejuni in poultry.
PMID: 19853682 [PubMed - in process]