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Highly purified mutant E112K of cholera toxin elicits protective lung mucosal immunity to diphtheria toxin

Ohmura M, Yamamoto M, Kiyono H, Fujihashi K, Takeda Y, McGhee JR

We demonstrated that the mutant of cholera toxin (mCT) E112K which was LPS-free supported the induction of protective immunity in mucosal (e.g. lung lavage) and systemic (e.g. serum) compartments when given nasally with vaccine-grade diphtheria toxoid (DT) to mice. Significant DT-specific mucosal IgA antibody (Ab) and serum IgG, IgA and IgM Ab responses were induced when LPS-depleted mCT E112K or native CT (nCT) was co-administered nasally with DT. The analysis of DT-specific Ab-forming cell (AFC) responses supported the Ab titers and significant numbers of DT-specific IgA AFC were present in the lungs, nasal passages and submandibular glands. Furthermore, DT-specific IgG AFC in cervical lymph nodes (CLN) and the spleen were induced in mice administered with DT nasally with either mCT or nCT. The analysis of antigen-specific T cell responses revealed that increased DT-specific CD4+ T cell proliferative and Th2-type cytokine responses were induced in mice nasally-immunized with DT and the LPS-free form of mCT. The neutralization of diphtheria toxin by Abs showed that DT-specific IgG Ab responses in serum and lung lavages of mice immunized with DT and mCT were protective. Furthermore, it was shown that an IgA-enriched fraction of lung lavages possessed diphtheria toxin-specific neutralizing activity. These results are the first demonstration that nasally co-administered mCT E112K can induce DT-specific protective Ab responses in mucosal compartments (e.g. lung lavages and the lungs).