A glycosylated recombinant subunit candidate vaccine consisting of Ehrlichia ruminantium major antigenic protein1 induces specific humoral and Th1 type cell responses in sheep

Access full-text article here


Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Heartwater, or cowdriosis, is a tick-borne disease of domestic and wild ruminants that is endemic in the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is caused by an intracellular pathogen, Ehrlichia ruminantium and may be fatal within days of the onset of clinical signs with mortality rates of up to 90% in susceptible hosts. Due to the presence of competent tick vectors in North America, there is substantial risk of introduction of heartwater with potentially devastating consequences to the domestic livestock industry. There is currently no reliable or safe vaccine for use globally. To develop a protective DIVA (differentiate infected from vaccinated animals) subunit vaccine for heartwater, we targeted the E. ruminantium immunodominant major antigenic protein1 (MAP1) with the hypothesis that MAP1 is a glycosylated protein and glycans contained in the antigenic protein are important epitope determinants. Using a eukaryotic recombinant baculovirus expression system, we expressed and characterized, for the first time, a glycoform profile of MAP1 of two Caribbean E. ruminantium isolates, Antigua and Gardel. We have shown that the 37±38 kDa protein corresponded to a glycosylated form of the MAP1 protein, whereas the 31±32 kDa molecular weight band represented the non-glycosylated form of the protein frequently reported in scientific literature. Three groups of sheep (n = 3±6) were vaccinated with increasing doses of a bivalent (Antigua and Gardel MAP1) rMAP1 vaccine cocktail formulation with montanide ISA25 as an adjuvant. The glycosylated recombinant subunit vaccine induced E. ruminantium-specific humoral and Th1 type T cell responses, which are critical for controlling intracellular pathogens, including E. ruminantium, in infected hosts. These results provide an important basis for development of a subunit vaccine as a novel strategy to protect susceptible livestock against heartwater in non-endemic and endemic areas.