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Production of putative enhanced oral cholera vaccine strains that express toxin-coregulated pilus

Hauke, CA;Taylor, RK;

The use of whole cell killed (WCK) oral cholera vaccines is an important strategy for cholera prevention in endemic areas. To overcome current vaccine limitations, we engineered strains of V. cholerae to be non-toxigenic and to express the protective protein colonization factor, toxin-coregulated pilus (TCP), under scale-up conditions potentially amenable to vaccine production. Two V. cholerae clinical strains were selected and their cholera toxin genes deleted. The tcp operon was placed under control of a rhamnose-inducible promoter. Production and stability of TCP were assessed under various conditions. The strains lack detectable cholera toxin production. The addition of 0.1% rhamnose to the growth medium induced robust production of TCP and TcpA antigen. The strains produced intact TCP in larger growth volumes (1 L), and pili appeared stable during heat-killing or acid treatment of the bacterial cultures. To date, no WCK cholera vaccines have included TCP. We have constructed putative strains of V. cholerae for use in a vaccine that produce high levels of stable TCP antigen, which has not previously been achieved.