Protective immunity of grass carp induced by DNA vaccine encoding capsid protein gene (vp7) of grass carp reovirus using bacterial ghost as delivery vehicles
Grass carp reovirus (GCRV) is one of the most pathogenic aquareovirus and can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). However, management of GCRV infection remains a challenge. Therefore, it is necessary to find effective means for the control of its infection. The uses of bacterial ghost (BG, non-living bacteria) as carriers for DNA delivery have received considerable attentions in veterinary and human vaccines studies. Nevertheless, there is still no report about intramuscular administration of bacterial ghost-based DNA vaccines in fish. In the current study, a novel vaccine based on Escherichia coli DH5α bacterial ghost (DH5α-BG), delivering a major capsid protein gene (vp7) of grass carp reovirus encoded DNA vaccine was developed to enhance the efficacy of a vp7 DNA vaccine against GCRV in grass carp. The grass carp was injected intramuscularly by different treatments -i) naked pcDNA-vp7 (containing plasmid 1, 2.5 and 5 μg, respectively), ii) DH5α-BG/pcDNA-vp7 (containing plasmid 1, 2.5 and 5 μg, respectively) and iii) naked pcDNA, DH5α-BG or phosphate buffered saline. The immune responses and disease resistance of grass carp were assessed in different groups, and results indicated that the antibody levels, serum total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, acid phosphatase (ACP) activity and alkaline phosphatase (AKP) activity and immune-related genes were significantly enhanced in fish immunized with DH5α-BG/pcDNA-vp7 vaccine (DNA dose ranged from 2.5 to 5 μg). In addition, the relative percentage survival were significantly enhanced in fish immunized with DH5α-BG/pcDNA-vp7 vaccine and the relative percentage survival reached to 90% in DH5α-BG/pcDNA-vp7 group than that of naked pcDNA-vp7 (42.22%) at the highest DNA dose (5 μg) after 14 days of post infection. Moreover, the level of pcDNA-vp7 plasmid was higher in DH5α-BG/pcDNA-vp7 groups than naked pcDNA-vp7 groups in muscle and kidneys tissues after 21 days. Overall, those results suggested that DH5α bacterial ghost based DNA vaccine might be used as a promising vaccine for aquatic animals to fight against GCRV infection.