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Evaluation of immunogenicity and protection of the Mic1-3 knockout Toxoplasma gondii live attenuated strain in the feline host

Abstract : Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Up to a third of the global human population is estimated to carry a T. gondii infection, which can result in severe complications in immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women. Humans and animals can become infected by ingesting either tissue cysts containing T. gondii bradyzoites, from raw or undercooked meat, or sporulated oocysts from environmental sources. T. gondii oocysts are released in the faeces of cats and other felids, which are the parasite's definitive hosts, leading to environmental contamination. Therefore, vaccination of the feline host against T. gondii is an interesting strategy to interrupt the parasitic life cycle and subsequently limit contamination of intermediate hosts. With this goal in mind, we tested in cats, an attenuated live strain of T. gondii deleted for the Mic1 and Mic3 genes (Mic1-3KO) that was previously shown to be an efficient vaccine candidate in mouse and sheep models. Subcutaneous or oral vaccination routes induced a high specific antibody titer in the cat sera, indicating that the Mic1-3KO strain is immunogenic for cats. To assess protection induced by the vaccine candidate strain, we followed oocysts shedding by vaccinated cats, after oral challenge with a T. gondii wild-type strain. Surprisingly, a high antibody titer did not prevent cats from shedding oocysts from the challenge strain, regardless of the vaccination route. Our results show that the Mic1-3KO vaccine candidate is immunogenic in the feline host, is well tolerated and safe, but does not confer protection against oocysts shedding after natural infection with wild type T. gondii. This result highlights the particular relationship between T. gondii and its unique definitive host, which indicates the need for further investigations to improve vaccination strategies to limit environmental and livestock contaminations.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03318166
Contributor : Camille Serva <>
Submitted on : Monday, August 9, 2021 - 2:11:45 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - 1:28:09 PM

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Delphine Le Roux, Vitomir Djokic, Solen Morisse, Clément Chauvin, Vanessa Doré, et al.. Evaluation of immunogenicity and protection of the Mic1-3 knockout Toxoplasma gondii live attenuated strain in the feline host. Vaccine, Elsevier, 2020, 38 (6), pp.1457-1466. ⟨10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.11.076⟩. ⟨hal-03318166⟩

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