Toxoplasma gondii can infect almost all warm-blood animals including human beings. The high incidence and severe damage that can be caused by T. gondii infection clearly indicates the need for the development of a vaccine. T. gondii elongation factor 1-alpha (TgEF-1α) plays an important role in pathogenesis and host cell invasion for this parasite. The aim of this study was to evaluate the immune protective efficacy of a DNA vaccine encoding TgEF-1α gene against acute T. gondii infection in mice.
A DNA vaccine (pVAX-EF-1α) encoding T. gondii EF-1a (TgEF-1α) gene was constructed and its immune response and protective efficacy against lethal challenge in BALB/c mice were evaluated.
Mice inoculated with the pVAX-EF-1α vaccine had a high level of specific anti- T. gondii antibodies and produced high levels of IFN-gamma, interleukin (IL)-4, and IL-17. The expression levels of MHC-I and MHC-II molecules as well as the percentages of both CD4 + and CD8 + T cells in mice vaccinated with pVAX-EF-1α were significantly increased ( p < 0.05), compared with those in all the mice from control groups (blank control, PBS, and pVAXI). Immunization with pVAX-EF-1α significantly ( p < 0.05) prolonged mouse survival time to 14.1 ± 1.7 days after challenge infection with the virulent T. gondii RH strain, compared with mice in the control groups which died within 8 days.