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Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 (S. dysenteriae 1) is unique among the Shigella species and serotypes in the expression of Shiga toxin which contributes to more severe disease sequelae and the ability to cause explosive outbreaks and pandemics. S. dysenteriae 1 shares characteristics with other Shigella species, including the capability of causing clinical illness with a very low inoculum (10 to 100 CFU) and resistance to multiple antibiotics, underscoring the need for efficacious vaccines and therapeutics. Following the demonstration of the successful attenuating capacity of deletion mutations in the guaBA operon in S. flexneri 2a vaccine strains in clinical studies, we developed a series of S. dysenteriae 1 vaccine candidates containing the fundamental attenuating mutation in guaBA. All strains are devoid of Shiga toxin activity by specific deletion of the gene encoding the StxA subunit, which encodes enzymatic activity. The StxB subunit was overexpressed in several derivatives by either plasmid-based constructs or chromosomal manipulation to include a strong promoter. All strains are attenuated for growth in vitro in the HeLa cell assay and for plaque formation and were safe in the Serény test and immunogenic in the guinea pigs. Each strain induced robust serum and mucosal anti-S. dysenteriae 1 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) responses and protected against wild-type challenge. Two strains engineered to overexpress StxB induced high titers of Shiga toxin neutralizing antibodies. These candidates demonstrate the potential for a live attenuated vaccine to protect against disease caused by S. dysenteriae 1 and potentially to protect against the toxic effects of other Shiga toxin 1-expressing pathogens.


Tao Wu, Christen Grassel, Myron M Levine, Eileen M Barry. Live attenuated Shigella dysenteriae type 1 vaccine strains overexpressing shiga toxin B subunit. Infection and immunity. 2011 Dec;79(12):4912-22

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PMID: 21969003

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