A programmed self-destructive Salmonella vaccine delivery system was developed to facilitate efficient colonization in host tissues that allows release of the bacterial cell contents after lysis to stimulate mucosal, systemic, and cellular immunities against a diversity of pathogens. Adoption and modification of these technological improvements could form part of an integrated strategy for cost-effective control and prevention of infectious diseases, including those caused by parasitic pathogens. Avian coccidiosis is a common poultry disease caused by Eimeria. Coccidiosis has been controlled by medicating feed with anticoccidial drugs or administering vaccines containing low doses of virulent or attenuated Eimeria oocysts. Problems of drug resistance and nonuniform administration of these Eimeria resulting in variable immunity are prompting efforts to develop recombinant Eimeria vaccines. In this study, we designed, constructed, and evaluated a self-destructing recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccine (RASV) lysis strain synthesizing the Eimeria tenella SO7 antigen. We showed that the RASV lysis strain χ11791(pYA5293) with a ΔsifA mutation enabling escape from the Salmonella-containing vesicle (or endosome) successfully colonized chicken lymphoid tissues and induced strong mucosal and cell-mediated immunities, which are critically important for protection against Eimeria challenge. The results from animal clinical trials show that this vaccine strain significantly increased food conversion efficiency and protection against weight gain depression after challenge with 105E. tenella oocysts with concomitant decreased oocyst output. More importantly, the programmed regulated lysis feature designed into this RASV strain promotes bacterial self-clearance from the host, lessening persistence of vaccine strains in vivo and survival if excreted, which is a critically important advantage in a vaccine for livestock animals. Our approach should provide a safe, cost-effective, and efficacious vaccine to control coccidiosis upon addition of additional protective Eimeria antigens. These improved RASVs can also be modified for use to control other parasitic diseases infecting other animal species.

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