Elucidating the T-cell epitopes and T-cells responses of two B. pseudomallei vaccine antigens
Led by Dr Julen Tomás Cortázar (University College Dublin, Ireland), with Prof Susanna Dunachie (University of Oxford, UK), Asst Prof Louise Gourlay (University of Milan, Italy), Prof Giorgio Colombo (University of Pavia, Italy), and Dr Siobhán McClean (University College Dublin, Ireland)
Melioidosis is a potential lethal infection that is quite common in South East Asia and is on the increase in other tropical countries such as Brazil. It can kill up to 40% of people and is particularly dangerous for people with diabetes. The bacteria that cause melioidosis are extremely resistant to antibiotics and there is no vaccine available to protect people from this infection. We want to develop a vaccine that will be safe, effective and cheap to produce. As a result of several years studying how bacteria attach to human cells we have discovered some molecules (called antigens) that are likely to be good vaccines as they protect mice from this infection. More recently we have discovered two more antigens that we would like to study in this proposal to see if they would be effective in protecting people from melioidosis. There are two arms to the immune system: one requiring antibodies for effect and the other relying on T cells for effect. In the case of melioidosis the T-cell response is essential in successfully fighting this infection. In this proposal we will try to pinpoint the parts of the antigen molecules that are most likely to stimulate the arm of immune system that is most important to protect people from melioidosis infection. We will identify the parts of the antigen that stimulate the T-cell response. We will also look at the level of T cell response in mice and compare that to the T-cell responses in human blood.