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A Novel High-Potency Tetanus Vaccine. mBio 2020 Aug 11;11(4)



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Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85089602052 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   10 Citations


Chemically inactivated tetanus toxoid (CITT) is clinically effective and widely used. However, CITT is a crude nonmalleable vaccine that contains hundreds of Clostridium tetani proteins, and the active component is present in variable and sometimes minor percentages of vaccine mass. Recombinant production of a genetically inactivated tetanus vaccine offers an opportunity to replace and improve the current tetanus vaccine. Previous studies showed the feasibility of engineering full-length tetanus toxin (TT) in Escherichia coli In the present study, full-length TT was engineered with eight individual amino acid mutations (8MTT) to inactivate catalysis, translocation, and host receptor-binding functions, retaining 99.4% amino acid identity to native tetanus toxin. 8MTT purified as a 150-kDa single-chain protein, which trypsin nicked to a 100-kDa heavy chain and 50-kDa light chain. The 8MTT was not toxic for outbred mice and was >50 million-fold less toxic than native TT. Relative to CITT, 8MTT vaccination elicited a strong immune response and showed good vaccine potency against TT challenge. The strength of the immune response to both vaccines varied among individual outbred mice. These data support 8MTT as a candidate vaccine against tetanus and a malleable candidate conjugate vaccine platform to enhance the immune response to polysaccharides and other macromolecular molecules to facilitate a rapid response to emerging microbial pathogens.IMPORTANCE Chemical inactivation is a clinically effective mechanism to detoxify protein toxins to produce vaccines against microbial infections and to serve as a platform for production of conjugate polysaccharide vaccines. This method is widely used for the production of protein toxin vaccines, including tetanus toxoid. However, chemical modification alters the protein structure with unknown effects on antigenicity. Here, a recombinant full-length tetanus toxin (TT) is engineered with 8 mutations (8MTT) that inactivate three toxin functions: catalysis, translocation, and receptor binding. 8MTT is nontoxic and elicits a potent immune response in outbred mice. 8MTT also represents a malleable platform for the production of conjugate vaccines, which can facilitate a rapid vaccine response against emerging microbial pathogens.

Author List

Przedpelski A, Tepp WH, Pellett S, Johnson EA, Barbieri JT


Joseph T. Barbieri PhD Professor in the Microbiology and Immunology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Antibodies, Bacterial
Escherichia coli
Mice, Inbred ICR
Recombinant Proteins
Tetanus Toxoid
Vaccine Potency