Millions of American men and women are infected with Chlamydia each year. Without proper treatment, a substantial proportion of chlamydia-infected women may develop infertility and other health problems. To date, no Chlamydia vaccine is available.
Chlamydia is an obligate intracellular bacterium with a unique developmental cycle consisting of two cell types: the infectious but non-proliferative elementary body (EB) and the proliferative but noninfectious reticulate body (RB). Successful chlamydial infection requires all the following four sequential events: 1) EB invasion of host cells, 2) EB conversion to RB, 3) RB replication, and 4) conversion of RBs back to EBs.
Rutgers researchers have identified a protein that is essential for the last step of the developmental cycle. They have devised an expression system that can precisely control the expression of this essential protein in chlamydiae. Using this system, they show that chlamydiae deprived of this protein can invade host cells and form proliferative RBs but fail to mature into progeny EBs. Because RBs contain all immunogens needed to elicit immune responses, the maturation-defective chlamydiae can be used as attenuated Chlamydia vaccines.
- Complete attenuation of any Chlamydia species and serovars
- Mucosal immunity elicited with topical immunization
- A new class of vaccines to prevent chlamydial infection in humans and animals
- A novel genetics tool that allows for attenuation of chlamydiae and interrogation of essential genes
Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.