Oral delivery ofEscherichia colipersistently infected with M2e-displaying bacteriophages partially protects against influenza A virus
We describe a novel live oral vaccine type. Conceptually, this vaccine is based on a non-lytic, recombinant filamentous bacteriophage that displays an antigen of interest. To provide proof of concept we used the amino-terminal part of a conserved influenza A virus epitope, i.e. matrix protein 2 ectodomain (M2e) residues 2 to 16, as the antigen of interest. Rather than using the phages as purified virus-like particles as a vaccine, these phages were delivered to intestinal Peyer's patches as a live bacterium-phage combination that comprises Escherichia coli cells that conditionally express invasin derived from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Invasin-expressing E. coli cells were internalized by mammalian Hep-2 cells in vitro and adhered to mouse intestinal microfold (M) cells ex vivo. Invasin-expressing E. coli cells were permissive for recombinant filamentous bacteriophage f88 that displays M2e and became persistently infected. Oral administration of the live engineered E. coli-invasin-phage combination to mice induced M2e-specific serum IgG antibodies. Mice that had been immunized with invasin-expressing E. coli cells that carried M2e2-16 displaying fd phages seroconverted to M2e and showed partial protection against challenge with influenza A virus. Oral delivery of a live vaccine comprising a bacterial host that is targeted to Peyer's patches and is persistently infected with an antigen-displaying phage, can thus be exploited as an oral vaccine.