Towards a subunit vaccine from a Shigella flexneri Delta tolR mutant
Disruption of one or more components of the Tol-Pal system, involved in maintaining the integrity of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, has been proposed as a method to increase the yield obtained from natural production of outer membrane vesicles (OMV). We present a new OMV-based product, obtained from genetically modified Shigella flexneri 2a with a non-polar deletion in tolR and heat-inactivated (HT-Delta tolR). The S. flexneri Delta tolR strain lead to a higher release of vesicles, more than 8-times when compared to the yield obtained from chemically inactivated wild type strain. S. flexneri mutant strain appeared to be more sensitive to different chemical compounds, including antibiotics, bile salts or human complement and it was also less virulent in both in vitro and in vivo assays. The mutation produced some changes in the LPS O-chain and protein expression. S. flexneri Delta tolR was enriched in long and very long LPS O-chain and expressed a different pattern of surface proteins or lipoproteins. In vitro toxicity and activation properties were determined in Raw 267.4 macrophage cell line. HT-Delta tolR antigenic complex was non-cytotoxic and activation markers, such as MHC-II or CD40, were highly expressed during incubation with this product. Finally, preliminary studies on the antibody response elicited by HT-Delta tolR demonstrated a robust and diverse response in mice. Considering these promising results, HT-Delta toIR antigenic extract appears as a new potential vaccine candidate to face shigellosis.