Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian 271018, China; Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Biotechnology and Disease Control and Prevention, Taian 271018, China; Shandong Provincial Engineering Technology Research Center of Animal Disease Control and Prevention, Taian 271018, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Duck hepatitis A virus (DHAV) is the major pathogen of duck viral hepatitis, which has caused great economic losses to duck breeding industry. As an effective delivery tool for protein antigens, Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis) has been successfully used to stimulate mucosal and systemic immune response. In this study, a recombinant L. lactis named NZ3900-VP1 was constructed, which could express VP1 protein of DHAV type 3 (DHAV-3) by using a nisin-controlled expression (NICE) system. The animal experiment in both mice and ducklings were performed to detect the immune response and protection effect of oral vaccination by the recombinant L. lactis. The results showed that oral vaccination with L. lactis NZ3900-VP1 significantly induced specific anti-VP1 IgG antibodies and mucosal secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) of DHAV-3 in mice and ducklings, and cytokines including interleukin-2 (IL-2), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin-10 (IL-10) and interleukin-4 (IL-4). Notably, the ducklings vaccinated with L. lactis NZ3900-VP1 were effectively protected when facing natural infestation of DHAV-3, which indicated that the recombinant L. lactis could serve as an effective vaccine to prevent DHAV-3 infection in ducklings.