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A Recombinant 47-kDa Outer Membrane Protein Induces an Immune Response against Orientia tsutsugamushi Strain Boryong

Choi, S;Jeong, HJ;Hwang, K;Gill, B;Ju, YR;Lee, YS;Lee, J;

We investigated the 47-kDa outer membrane protein (OMP), which is a periplasmic serine protease and an antigenic major surface protein of Orientia tsutsugamushi, as a vaccine candidate. We developed a conventional subunit vaccine expressing recombinant 47-kDa OMP (rec47) and a DNA vaccine (p47). In mouse immunization experiments, intranasal immunization with rec47 alone or with rec47 plus heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit from Escherichia coli or plus cholera toxin (CT) as adjuvants induced a higher amount of rec47-specific antibodies than intramuscular immunization with p47 alone or with p47 plus pBOOST2-samIRF7/3 (pB) as adjuvant. Moreover, the combination of rec47 and CT induced a strong cellular immune response to 47-kDa OMP, as demonstrated by a spleen cell proliferation assay, and also induced Th1- and Th2-type cytokine production, as demonstrated by a cytokine enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Intranasal immunization with rec47 plus CT was the most effective method for the induction of humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Furthermore, relatively strong protection against homologous O. tsutsugamushi strain Boryong challenge was observed in mice immunized with rec47 plus CT. Therefore, 47-kDa OMP is an attractive candidate for developing a prophylactic vaccine against scrub typhus by O. tsutsugamushi infection.