Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2016. 11(2):144-158.

Immunogenicity and Efficacy of Live L. tarentolae Expressing KMP11-NTGP96-GFP Fusion as a Vaccine Candidate against Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis Caused by L. infantum


Background: The aim of present study was to evaluate the protective efficacy of live recombinant L. tarentolae expressing KMP11-NTGP96-GFP fusion as candidates for live engineered recombinant vaccine against visceral leishmaniasis in BALB/c mice.

Methods: KMP-11 and NT-GP96 genes cloned into the pJET1.2/blunt cloning vector and then into pEGFP-N1 expression vector. The KMP-11, NT-GP96 and GFP fused in pEGFP-N1 and subcloned into Leishmanian pLEXSY-neo vector. Finally this construct was transferred to L. tarentolae by electroporation. Tranfection was confirmed by SDS-PAGE, WESTERN blot, flowcytometry and RT-PCR. Protective efficacy of this construct was evaluated as a vaccine candidate against visceral leishmaniasis. Parasite burden, humoral and cellular immune responses were assessed before and at 4 weeks after challenge.

Results: KMP- NT-Gp96-GFP Fusion was cloned successfully into pLEXSY -neo vector and this construct successfully transferred to L. tarentolae. Finding indicated that immunization with L. tarentolae tarentolae-KMP11-NTGP96-GFP provides significant protection against visceral leishmaniasis and was able to induce an increased expression of IFN-γ and IgG2a. Following challenge, a reduced parasite load in the spleen of the KMP11-NTGP96-GFP immunized group was detected.

Conclusion: The present study is the first to use a combination of a Leishmania antigen with an immunologic antigen in live recombinant L. tarentolae and results suggest that L. tarentolae-KMP11-NTGP96-GFP could be considered as a potential tool in vaccination against visceral leishmaniasis and this vaccination strategy could provide a potent rout for future vaccine development. 


KMP-11; NT-GP96; L. tarentolae; L. infantum; Visceral leishmaniasis; Vaccine

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