Structure-based vaccines provide protection in a mouse model of ehrlichiosis

Sunil Thomas, Nagaraja R. Thirumalapura, Patricia A. Crocquet-Valdes, Bruce A. Luxon, David H. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: Recent advances in bioinformatics have made it possible to predict the B cell and T cell epitopes of antigenic proteins. This has led to design of peptide based vaccines that are more specific, safe, and easy to produce. The obligately intracellular gram negative bacteria Ehrlichia cause ehrlichioses in humans and animals. As yet there are no vaccines to protect against Ehrlichia infection. Methodology/Principal Findings: We applied the principle of structural vaccinology to design peptides to the epitopes of Ehrlichia muris outer membrane P28-19 (OMP-1/P28) and Ehrlichia Heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60/GroEL) antigenic proteins. Both P28-19 and Ehrlichia Hsp60 peptides reacted with polyclonal antibodies against E. canis and E. chaffeensis and could be used as a diagnostic tool for ehrlichiosis. In addition, we demonstrated that mice vaccinated with Ehrlichia P28-19 and Hsp60 peptides and later challenged with E. muris were protected against the pathogen. Conclusions/Significance: Our results demonstrate the power of structural vaccines and could be a new strategy in the development of vaccines to provide protection against pathogenic microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27981
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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