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T cell immunity in African swine fever vaccine immune protection

Published 2017-12-11

African swine fever (ASF) is a devastating disease. The observations that pigs surviving an infection are resistant to challenge suggest a protective immune response. However, its mechanisms are poorly characterized. Recently, we demonstrate for the first time, that a CD2
gene-deleted live vaccine candidate BA71?CD2 confers solid protection, which correlates with cytotoxic CD8
+ T cell responses, albeit other immune responses could not be ruled out. We hypothesize that BA71?CD2 initiates efficient activation and differentiation of naïve B and T cells, thus promoting optimal T cell and antibody responses. This project aims to unmask the intrinsic mechanisms involved in protection and more specifically, to better understand the protective T-cell-mediated immunity induced by BA71?CD2. By employing different techniques such as RNA-Seq, we will study: (1) gene expression patterns during early infection specially focusing on antigen presentation and T cell activation pathways, (2) signaling pathways leading to T cell differentiation into different subtypes through the infection, and (3) characterization of the specific B and T-cell responses induced before and after lethal challenge in pigs immunized with BA71?CD2. Acquiring a better understanding of the ASF protective immunity will contribute to improve efficacy and safety of BA71?CD2, providing an additional tool for ASF management. Ultimately, this project will increase animal health and welfare.

In this project, I will collaborate with Dr Rodriguez at CReSA/IRTA, Barcelona. He and his colleagues have developed the promising vaccine candidate BA71?CD2.