Burkholderia

Burkholderia

Biodefense vaccines against Category B bioterror agents Burkholderia pseudomallei (BPM) and Burkholderia mallei (BM) are needed, as they are both easily accessible to terrorists and have strong weaponization potential. Burkholderia cepaciae (BC), a related pathogen, causes chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. Since BPM, BM and BC are intracellular bacteria, they are excellent targets for T cell-based vaccines. However, the sheer volume of available genomic data requires the aid of immunoinformatics for vaccine design. Recent results show it is possible to rapidly identify promiscuous T helper epitopes conserved across multiple Burkholderia species and test their binding to HLA in vitro. The next step in our process will be to test the epitopes ex vivo using peripheral leukocytes from BC, BPM infected humans and for immunogenicity in human HLA transgenic mice.

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