Background: To establish correlates of human immunity to the live plague vaccine (LPV), we analyzed parameters of cellular and antibody response to the plasminogen activator Pla of Y. pestis. This outer membrane protease is an essential virulence factor that is steadily expressed by Y. pestis. Methodology/Principal findings: PBMCs and sera were obtained from a cohort of naïve (n = 17) and LPV-vaccinated (n = 34) donors. Anti-Pla antibodies of different classes and IgG subclasses were determined by ELISA and immunoblotting. The analysis of antibody response was complicated with a strong reactivity of Pla with normal human sera. The linear Pla B-cell epitopes were mapped using a library of 15-mer overlapping peptides. Twelve peptides that reacted specifically with sera of vaccinated donors were found together with a major cross-reacting peptide IPNISPDSFTVAAST located at the N-terminus. PBMCs were stimulated with recombinant Pla followed by proliferative analysis and cytokine profiling. The T-cell recall response was pronounced in vaccinees less than a year post-immunization, and became Th17-polarized over time after many rounds of vaccination. Conclusions/Significance: The Pla protein can serve as a biomarker of successful vaccination with LPV. The diagnostic use of Pla will require elimination of cross-reactive parts of the antigen.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases