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BCG-Prime and boost with Esx-5 secretion system deletion mutant...


Abstract

Although vaccination with BCG prevents disseminated forms of childhood tuberculosis (TB), it does not protect against pulmonary infection or Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) transmission. In this study, we generated a complete deletion mutant of the Mtb Esx-5 type VII secretion system (Mtb Δesx-5). Mtb Δesx-5 was highly attenuated and safe in immunocompromised mice. When tested as a vaccine candidate to boost BCG-primed immunity, Mtb Δesx-5 improved protection against highly virulent Mtb strains in the murine and guinea pig models of TB. Enhanced protection provided by heterologous BCG-prime plus Mtb Δesx-5 boost regimen was associated with increased pulmonary influx of central memory T cells (TCM), follicular helper T cells (TFH) and activated monocytes. Conversely, lower numbers of T cells expressing exhaustion markers were observed in vaccinated animals. Our results suggest that boosting BCG-primed immunity with Mtb Δesx-5 is a potential approach to improve protective immunity against Mtb. Further insight into the mechanism of action of this novel prime-boost approach is warranted.

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