Assessment of Lactobacillus gasseri as a candidate oral vaccine vector

Laura Stoeker, Shila Nordone, Sara Gunderson, Lin Zhang, Akinobu Kajikawa, Alora LaVoy, Michael Miller, Todd R. Klaenhammer, Gregg A. Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lactobacillus species are commensal bacteria that have long been recognized as probiotic microbes and are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) for human consumption. We have investigated the use of L. gasseri as a vaccine vector for oral immunization against mucosal pathogens. Recent research has shown that the immune response to different lactobacilli can vary widely depending on the species or subspecies of Lactobacillus being studied. While some lactobacilli seem to induce oral tolerance, others induce an adaptive immune response. This study characterized the systemic and mucosal immune response to wild-type and genetically modified L. gasseri. L. gasseri primarily activates TLR2/6, with additional activation through the TLR2 homodimer. To expand the Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation profile of L. gasseri and the immunogenicity of the vector, a plasmid containing fliC, the gene encoding bacterial flagellin, was introduced which resulted in the strong activation of TLR5. The treatment of human myeloid dendritic cells with recombinant lactobacilli expressing flagellin triggered phenotypic maturation and the release of proinflammatory cytokines. In contrast, bacterial treatment also resulted in a statistically significant increase in IL-10 production. In vivo studies established that treatment with L. gasseri led to a diversification of B-cell populations in the lamina propria of the murine colon. Furthermore, treatment with genetically modified L. gasseri led to a significant decrease in the percentage of FoxP3 + colonic lymphocytes. Taken together, these data clarify the interaction of L. gasseri with the host immune system and support further investigation of the in vivo immunogenicity of L. gasseri expressing both flagellin and candidate vaccine antigens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1834-1844
Number of pages11
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)


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