Immunogenicity and protection conferred by a recombinant Mycobacterium marinum vaccine against Buruli ulcer
Mycobacterium ulcerans (MU) infection causes the disfiguring necrotic skin disease, Buruli ulcer (BU). While vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis BCG provides nominal antigenic cross-reactivity for induction of immunity against experimental MU infection, a mycobacterial species with greater genetic homology to Mycobacterium ulcerans may serve as a richer source of cross-protective immunogens and lack the pathological features of MU-based vaccines. Mycobacterium marinum, a highly homologous genetic relative of MU, could be used to satisfy these criteria and, as such, we have generated a recombinant M. marinum strain expressing the immunodominant, protective MU-Ag85A. The immunogenicity and protection achieved by murine vaccination with this strain are superior to standard BCG vaccination and may serve as a foundation for developing more effective BU vaccines.