Bioengineering of LAB vector expressing haemolysin co-regulated protein (Hcp): a strategic approach to control gut colonization of Campylobacter jejuni in a murine model

30 Jul 2021
Gorain C, Khan A, Singh A, Mondal S and Mallick AI

Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) is accountable for more than 400 million cases of gastroenteritis each year and is listed as a high-priority gut pathogen by the World Health Organization (WHO). Although the acute infection of C. jejuni (campylobacteriosis) is commonly treated with macrolides and fluoroquinolones, the emergence of antibiotic resistance among C. jejuni warrants the need for an alternative approach to control campylobacteriosis in humans. To this end, vaccines remain a safe, effective, and widely accepted strategy for controlling emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. In search of a suitable vaccine against campylobacteriosis, recently, we demonstrated the potential of recombinant Haemolysin co-regulated protein (Hcp) of C. jejuni Type VI secretion system (T6SS) in imparting significant immune-protection against cecal colonization of C. jejuni; however, in the avian model. Since clinical features of human campylobacteriosis are more complicated than the avians, we explored the potential of Hcp as a T6SS targeted vaccine in a murine model as a more reliable and reproducible experimental host to study vaccine-induced immune-protection against C. jejuni. Because C. jejuni primarily utilizes the mucosal route for host pathogenesis, we analyzed the immunogenicity of a mucosally deliverable bioengineered lactic acid bacteria (LAB), Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis), expressing Hcp. Considering the role of Hcp in both structural (membrane-bound) and functional (effector protein) exhibition of C. jejuni T6SS, a head-to-head comparison of two different forms of recombinant LAB vectors (cell wall anchored and secreted form of Hcp) were tested and assessed for the immune phenotypes of each modality in BALB/c mice.