Evaluation of vaccine delivery systems for inducing long-lived antibody responses to Dermanyssus gallinae antigen in laying hens.
Dermanyssus gallinae, the poultry red mite, is a global threat to the commercial egg-laying industry. Control of D. gallinae is difficult, with only a limited number of effective pesticides and non-chemical treatments available. Here we characterise the candidate vaccine antigen D. gallinae cathepsin D-1 (Dg-CatD-1) and demonstrate that purified refolded recombinant Dg-Cat-D1 (rDg-CatD-1) is an active aspartyl proteinase which digests haemoglobin with a pH optimum of pH 4. Soluble protein extracts from D. gallinae also have haemoglobinase activity, with a pH optimum comparable to the recombinant protein and both proteinase activities were inhibited by the aspartyl proteinase inhibitor Pepstatin A. Enzyme activity and the ubiquitous localization of Dg-CatD-1 protein in sections of adult female mites is consistent with Dg-CatD-1 being a lysosomal proteinase. Using Dg-CatD-1 as a model vaccine antigen, we compared vaccine delivery methods in laying hens via vaccination with: i) purified rDg-CatD-1 with Montanide™ ISA 71 VG adjuvant; ii) recombinant DNA vaccines for expression of rDg-CatD-1 and iii) transgenic coccidial parasite Eimeria tenella expressing rDg-CatD-1. In two independent trials, only birds vaccinated with rDg-CatD-1 with Montanide™ ISA 71 VG produced a strong and long-lasting serum anti-rDg-Cat-D1 IgY response, which was significantly higher than control birds vaccinated with adjuvant only. Furthermore, we showed that egg laying rates of D. gallinae mites fed on birds vaccinated with rDg-CatD-1 in Montanide™ ISA 71 VG was reduced significantly compared with mites fed on unvaccinated birds.