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PLoS One 2015 May 14;10(5):e0126570

Francisella tularensis vaccines elicit concurrent protective T- and B-cell immune responses in BALB/cByJ mice.

De Pascalis R, Mittereder L, Chou AY, Kennett NJ, Elkins KL


In the last decade several new vaccines against Francisella tularensis, which causes tularemia, have been characterized in animal models. Whereas many of these vaccine candidates showed promise, it remains critical to bridge the preclinical studies to human subjects, ideally by taking advantage of correlates of protection. By combining in vitro intramacrophage LVS replication with gene expression data through multivariate analysis, we previously identified and quantified correlative T cell immune responses that discriminate vaccines of different efficacy. Further, using C57BL/6J mice, we demonstrated that the relative levels of gene expression vary according to vaccination route and between cell types from different organs. Here, we extended our studies to the analysis of T cell functions of BALB/cByJ mice to evaluate whether our approach to identify correlates of protection also applies to a Th2 dominant mouse strain. BALB/cByJ mice had higher survival rates than C57BL/6J mice when they were immunized with suboptimal vaccines and challenged. However, splenocytes derived from differentially vaccinated BALB/cByJ mice controlled LVS intramacrophage replication in vitro in a pattern that reflected the hierarchy of protection observed in C57BL/6J mice. In addition, gene expression of selected potential correlates revealed similar patterns in splenocytes of BALB/cByJ and C57BL/6J mice. The different survival patterns were related to B cell functions, not necessarily to specific antibody production, which played an important protective role in BALB/cByJ mice when vaccinated with suboptimal vaccines. Our studies therefore demonstrate the range of mechanisms that operate in the most common mouse strains used for characterization of vaccines against F. tularensis, and illustrate the complexity necessary to define a comprehensive set of correlates.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #25973794 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126570
PubMed Central ID: #PMC4431730
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Biologics
Entry Created: 2016-02-29