Regulated programmed lysis of recombinant Salmonella in host tissues to release protective antigens and confer biological containment

Wei Kong, Soo Young Wanda, Xin Zhang, Wendy Bollen, Steven A. Tinge, Kenneth L. Roland, Roy Curtiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


We have devised and constructed a biological containment system designed to cause programmed bacterial cell lysis with no survivors. We have validated this system, using Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccines for antigen delivery after colonization of host lymphoid tissues. The system is composed of two parts. The first component is Salmonella typhimurium strain χ8937, with deletions of asdA and arabinose-regulated expression of murA, two genes required for peptidoglycan synthesis and additional mutations to enhance complete lysis and antigen delivery. The second component is plasmid pYA3681, which encodes arabinose-regulated murA and asdA expression and C2-regulated synthesis of antisense asdA and murA mRNA transcribed from the P22 PR promoter. An arabinose-regulated c2 gene is present in the chromosome. χ8937(pYA3681) exhibits arabinose-dependent growth. Upon invasion of host tissues, an arabinose-free environment, transcription of asdA, murA, and c2 ceases, and concentrations of their gene products decrease because of cell division. The drop in C2 concentration results in activation of PR, driving synthesis of antisense mRNA to block translation of any residual asdA and murA mRNA. A highly antigenic α-helical domain of Streptococcus pneumoniae Rx1 PspA was cloned into pYA3681, resulting in pYA3685 to test antigen delivery. Mice orally immunized with χ8937(pYA3685) developed antibody responses to PspA and Salmonella outer membrane proteins. No viable vaccine strain cells were detected in host tissues after 21 days. This system has potential applications with other Gram-negative bacteria in which biological containment would be desirable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9361-9366
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 8 2008


  • Programmed cell lysis
  • Rx1
  • rPspA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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