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A novel live recombinant mycobacterial vaccine against bovine tuberculosis more potent than BCG


Mycobacterium bovis infection of cattle and other domesticated animals exacts a significant economic toll in both economically developing and industrialized countries. Vaccination of herds and/or wild animals that share their grazing land and serve as reservoirs of infection has been proposed as a strategy to combat bovine tuberculosis. However, the only currently available vaccine, M. bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG), is not highly efficacious. Here we show that a live recombinant vaccine, rBCG30, which expresses large amounts of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis 30kDa major secretory protein, is more efficacious against bovine tuberculosis than BCG in the highly demanding guinea pig model of pulmonary tuberculosis. Compared with the parental wild-type BCG strain, rBCG30 administered intradermally induced significantly greater cell-mediated and humoral immune responses against the 30kDa protein, as determined by measuring cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity and antibody titers. As for potency, in three independent experiments, rBCG30 induced greater protective immunity than BCG against aerosol challenge with a highly virulent strain of M. bovis, reducing the burden of M. bovis by 0.4 +/- 0.2 log colony-forming units (CFU) in the lung (P < 0.05) and by 1.1 +/- 0.4 log CFU in the spleen (P = 0.0005) below the level in BCG-immunized animals. A recombinant BCG vaccine overexpressing the identical M. bovis 30kDa protein, rBCG30Mb, also induced greater cell-mediated and humoral immunity against the 30 kDa protein than BCG and greater protective immunity against M. bovis challenge; however, its potency was not significantly different from rBCG30. As rBCG30 is significantly more potent than BCG against M. bovis challenge, it has potential as a vaccine against bovine tuberculosis in domesticated animals and in wild animal reservoirs. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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