Immunological correlates of protection mediated by a whole organism Cryptococcus neoformans vaccine deficient in chitosan

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Immunological correlates of protection mediated by a whole organism Cryptococcus neoformans vaccine deficient in chitosan

Authors

Specht, C.; Wang, R.; Oliveira, L. V. N.; Hester, M. M.; Gomez, C. L.; Mou, Z.; Carlson, D.; Lee, C. K.; Hole, C. R.; Lam, W. C.; Upadhya, R.; Lodge, J.; Levitz, S. M.

Abstract

The global burden of infections due to the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus is substantial in persons with low CD4+ T cell counts. Previously, we deleted three chitin deacetylase genes from C. neoformans to create a chitosan-deficient, avirulent strain, designated cda1{Delta}2{Delta}3{Delta} which, when used as a vaccine, protected mice from challenge with virulent C. neoformans strain KN99. Here, we explored the immunological basis for protection. Vaccine-mediated protection was maintained in mice lacking B cells or CD8+ T cells. In contrast, protection was lost in mice lacking /{beta} T cells or CD4+ T cells. Moreover, CD4+ T cells from vaccinated mice conferred protection upon adoptive transfer to naive mice. Importantly, while monoclonal antibody-mediated depletion of CD4+ T cells just prior to vaccination resulted in complete loss of protection, significant protection was retained in mice depleted of CD4+ T cells after vaccination, but prior to challenge. Vaccine-mediated protection was lost in mice genetically deficient in IFN{gamma}, TNF, or IL-23p19. A robust influx of leukocytes and IFN{gamma}- and TNF-expressing CD4+ T cells was seen in the lungs of vaccinated and challenged mice. Finally, a higher level of IFN{gamma} production by lung cells stimulated ex vivo correlated with lower fungal burden in the lungs. Thus, while B cells and CD8+ T cells are dispensable, IFN{gamma} and CD4+ T cells have overlapping roles in generating protective immunity prior to cda1?2?3? vaccination. However, once vaccinated, protection becomes less dependent on CD4+ T cells, suggesting a strategy for vaccinating HIV+ persons prior to loss of CD4+ T cells.

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