Pathogenicity and protective activity in pregnant goats of a Brucella melitensis δomp25 deletion mutant

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The Brucella melitensis mutant BM25, which lacks the major 25 kDa outer membrane protein Omp25, has previously been found to be attenuated in the murine brucellosis model. In the present study, the capacity of the δomp25 mutant to colonise and cause abortions in the caprine host was evaluated. The vaccine potential of BM25 was also investigated in goats. Inoculation of nine pregnant goats in late gestation with the B. melitensis mutant resulted in 0/9 abortions, while the virulent parental strain, B. melitensis 16M, induced 6/6 dams to abort (P < 0.001, n = 6). BM25 also colonised fewer adults (P < 0.05, n = 6) and kids (P < 0.01, n = 6) than strain 16M. The δomp25 mutant was found capable of transient in vivo colonisation of non-pregnant goats for two weeks post-infection. Owing to the ability of BM25 to colonise both non-pregnant and pregnant adults without inducing abortions, a vaccine efficacy study was performed. Vaccination of goats prior to breeding with either BM25 or the current caprine vaccine B. melitensis strain Rev. 1 resulted in 100 per cent protection against abortion following challenge in late gestation with virulent strain 16M (P < 0.05, n = 7). However, unlike strain Rev. 1, BM25 does not appear to cause abortions in late gestation based on this study with a small number of animals. The B. melitensis δomp25 mutant, BM25, may be a safe and efficacious alternative to strain Rev. 1 when dealing with goat herds of mixed age and pregnancy status. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Research in Veterinary Science

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