DNA vaccination with a gene encoding Toxoplasma gondii Rhoptry Protein 17 induces partial protective immunity against lethal challenge in mice.Parasite. 2016; 23:4.P
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular apicomplexan parasite that affects humans and various vertebrate livestock and causes serious economic losses. To develop an effective vaccine against T. gondii infection, we constructed a DNA vaccine encoding the T. gondii rhoptry protein 17 (TgROP17) and evaluated its immune protective efficacy against acute T. gondii infection in mice. The DNA vaccine (p3×Flag-CMV-14-ROP17) was intramuscularly injected to BALB/c mice and the immune responses of the vaccinated mice were determined. Compared to control mice treated with empty vector or PBS, mice immunized with the ROP17 vaccine showed a relatively high level of specific anti-T. gondii antibodies, and a mixed IgG1/IgG2a response with predominance of IgG2a production. The immunized mice also displayed a specific lymphocyte proliferative response, a Th1-type cellular immune response with production of IFN-γ and interleukin-2, and increased number of CD8(+) T cells. Immunization with the ROP17 DNA significantly prolonged the survival time (15.6 ± 5.4 days, P < 0.05) of mice after challenge infection with the virulent T. gondii RH strain (Type I), compared with the control groups which died within 8 days. Therefore, our data suggest that DNA vaccination with TgROP17 triggers significant humoral and cellular responses and induces effective protection in mice against acute T. gondii infection, indicating that TgROP17 is a promising vaccine candidate against acute toxoplasmosis.