Vaccination with Brucella abortus rough mutant RB51 protects BALB/c mice against virulent strains of Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, and Brucella ovis

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Vaccination of BALB/c mice with live Brucella abortus RB51, a stable rough mutant, produced protection against challenge with virulent strains of Brucella abortus, Brucella melitensis, and Brucella ovis. Passive-transfer experiments indicated that vaccinated mice were protected against B. abortus 2308 through cell-mediated immunity, against B. ovis PA through humoral immunity, and against B. melitensis 16M through both forms of immunity. Live bacteria were required for the induction of protective cell-mediated immunity; vaccination with whole killed cells of strain RB51 failed to protect mice against B. abortus 2308 despite development of good delayed- type hypersensitivity reactions. Protective antibodies against the heterologous species were generated in vaccinated mice primarily through anamnestic responses following challenge infections. Growth of the antigenically unrelated bacterium Listeria monocytogenes in the spleens of vaccinated mice indicated that nonspecific killing by residual activated macrophages contributed minimally to protection. These results encourage the continued investigation of strain RB51 as an alternative vaccine against heterologous Brucella species. However, its usefulness against B. ovis would be limited if, as suggested here, epitopes critical for protective cell- mediated immunity are not shared between B. abortus and B. ovis.

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Infection and Immunity

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