Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide and is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). An effective vaccine to prevent TB is considered the most cost-effective measure for controlling this disease. Many different vaccine antigen (Ag) candidates, including well-known and newly identified Ags, have been evaluated in clinical and preclinical studies. In this study, we took advantage of a plant system of protein expression using Nicotiana benthamiana to produce N-glycosylated antigen 85A (G-Ag85A), which is one of the most well-characterized vaccine Ag candidates in the field of TB vaccines, and compared its immunogenicity and vaccine efficacy with those of nonglycosylated Ag85A (NG-Ag85A) produced with an Escherichia coli system. Notably, G-Ag85A induced a more robust IFN-γ response than NG-Ag85A, which indicated that G-Ag85A is well recognized by the host immune system during Mtb infection. We subsequently compared the vaccine potential of G-Ag85A and NG-Ag85A by evaluating their immunological features and substantial protection efficacies. Interestingly, G-Ag85A yielded moderately enhanced long-term protective efficacy, as measured in terms of bacterial burden and lung inflammation. Strikingly, G-Ag85A-immunized mice showed a more balanced proportion of multifunctional Th1-biased immune responses with sustained IFN-γ response than did NG-Ag85A-immunized mice. Collectively, plant-derived G-Ag85A could induce protective and balanced Th1 responses and confer long-term protection against a hypervirulent Mtb Beijing strain infection, which indicated that plant-produced G-Ag85A might provide an excellent example for the production of an Mtb subunit vaccine Ag and could be an effective platform for the development of anti-TB vaccines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)