A lethally irradiated vaccine was successfully tested in mice against drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria by colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and holds promise for other such deadly diseases.
High doses of radiation typically destroy a pathogen’s genome, rendering it unable to cause infection when used in a vaccine. However, radiation also damages a microbe’s protein epitopes, which the immune system must recognize for a vaccine to be protective. Organisms inactivated, or killed, by radiation trigger better immune responses than those inactivated by traditional heat or chemical methods. Although live vaccines may provide better immune protection than irradiated vaccines, live vaccines are frequently not an option as they can carry an unacceptable risk of infection with an otherwise untreatable disease (e.g., HIV). Lethally irradiated vaccines could also help the developing world, where the need for cold storage limits the availability of live vaccines.
To separate genome destruction from epitope survival, the researchers borrowed some complex chemistry from the world’s toughest bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans, nicknamed “Conan the Bacterium,” which can withstand 3,000 times the radiation levels that would kill a human being. In 2000, Deinococcus was engineered for cleanup of highly radioactive wastes left over from the production of atomic bombs. Now, unusual Mn(II)-antioxidants discovered in this extremophile have been successfully applied to preparing irradiated vaccines.
Deinococcus accumulates high concentrations of manganese and peptides, which the scientists combined in the laboratory —forming a potent antioxidant complex which specifically protects proteins from radiation. They found that the complex preserves immune-related epitopes when applied to viruses and bacteria during exposure to gamma radiation, but did not protect their genomes.
Michael J. Daly, Ph.D., and his research team from USU collaborated on the work with Sandip K. Datta, M.D., and colleagues at NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The scientists used the Mn-peptide complex in a laboratory setting to successfully protect from radiation damage the protein epitopes of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, a microbe that causes a mosquito-borne disease of the nervous system. They also used the preparation method to develop an effective vaccine against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections in mice.
The researchers believe the whole-microbe vaccine approach could extend to any infectious organism that can be cultivated, whether fungi, parasites, protozoa, viruses or bacteria—including agents that mutate rapidly, such as pandemic influenza and HIV. The groups aim to demonstrate this method of irradiation as a rapid, cost-effective approach to vaccine development.The project was funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the intramural research program of the NIAID. For more information on Deinococcus research, visit
http://www.usuhs.mil/pat/deinococcus/index_20.htm. For information on AFOSR, contact Dr. Hugh DeLong (firstname.lastname@example.org).ARTICLE:
Sandip K. Datta, M.D., Lead Clinical Investigator, Bacterial Pathogenesis Unit, NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Dr. Datta is an expert in immune responses against bacteria and vaccines.CONTACT:
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is the nation’s federal health sciences university. USU students are primarily active duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who have received specialized education and training in tropical and infectious diseases, preventive medicine, the neurosciences (to include TBI and PTSD), disaster response and humanitarian assistance, and acute trauma care. A large percentage of the university’s more than 4,800 physician and 600 advanced practice nursing alumni are also supporting operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, offering their leadership and expertise. USU also has graduate programs in biomedical sciences and public health, open to civilian and military applicants committed to excellence in research.
Sharon Willis | Newswise Science News
Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Foster tadpoles trigger parental instinct in poison frogs
20.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy