Immune response in piglets orally immunized with recombinant Bacillus subtilis expressing the capsid protein of porcine circovirus type 2.


MOE Joint International Research Laboratory of Animal Health and Food Safety, College of Veterinary Medicine, Nanjing Agricultural University, Wei gang 1, Nanjing, Jiangsu, 210095, People's Republic of China. [Email]


BACKGROUND : Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, and is associated with a number of other diseases. PCV2 is widely distributed in most developed swine industries, and is a severe economic burden. With an eye to developing an effective, safe, and convenient vaccine against PCV2-associated diseases, we have constructed a recombinant Bacillus subtilis strain (B. subtilis-Cap) that expresses the PCV2 capsid protein (Cap).
METHODS : Electroporation of a plasmid shuttle vector encoding the PCV2 Cap sequence was use to transform Bacillus subtilis. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate in vitro bone marrow derived dendritic cell (BM-DC) maturation and T cell proliferation induced by B. subtilis-Cap. Orally inoculated piglets were used for in vivo experiments; ELISA and western blotting were used to evaluate B. subtilis-Cap induced PCV2-specific IgA and IgG levels, as well as the secretion of cytokines and the expression of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9).
RESULTS : We evaluated the immune response to B. subtilis-Cap in vitro using mouse BM-DCs and in vivo using neonatal piglets orally inoculated with B. subtilis-Cap. Our results showed that the recombinant B. subtilis-Cap activated BM-DCs, significantly increased co-stimulatory molecules (CD40 and CD80) and major histocompatibility complex II, and induced allogenic T cells proliferation. Piglets immunized with B. subtilis-Cap had elevated levels of PCV2-specific IgA in the mucosal tissues of the digestive and respiratory tract, and PCV2-specific IgG in serum (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). Ileal immunocompetent cells, such as the IgA-secreting cells (P < 0.01), intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IELs) (P < 0.01), CD3+ T lymphocytes (P < 0.01) and CD4+ T lymphocytes (P < 0.01) increased significantly in the B. subtilis-Cap immunized piglets. Additionally, B. subtilis-Cap inoculation resulted in increased the expression of TLR2 and TLR9 (P < 0.01), and induced the secretion of cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, interferon-γ, and β-defensin 2 (P < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS : We constructed a prototype PCV2 vaccine that can be administered orally and elicits a more robust humoral and cellular immunity than inactivated PCV2. B. subtilis-Cap is a promising vaccine candidate that is safe, convenient, and inexpensive. Further in vivo research is needed to determine its full range of efficacy in pigs.


Bacillus subtilis WB800N,Capsid protein,Dendritic cells,Immune responses,Neonatal piglets,Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2),

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