Recombinant invasive Lactococcus lactis can transfer DNA vaccines either directly to dendritic cells or across an epithelial cell monolayer

Marcela de Azevedo, Marjolein Meijerink, Nico Taverne, Vanessa Bastos Pereira, Jean Guy LeBlanc, Vasco Azevedo, Anderson Miyoshi, Philippe Langella, J.M. Wells, Jean Marc Chatel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis), a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) bacterium has recently been investigated as a mucosal delivery vehicle for DNA vaccines. Because of its GRAS status, L. lactis represents an attractive alternative to attenuated pathogens. Previous studies showed that eukaryotic expression plasmids could be delivered into intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) by L. lactis, or recombinant invasive strains of L. lactis, leading to heterologous protein expression. Although expression of antigens in IECs might lead to vaccine responses, it would be of interest to know whether uptake of L. lactis DNA vaccines by dendritic cells (DCs) could lead to antigen expression as they are unique in their ability to induce antigen-specific T cell responses. To test this, we incubated mouse bone marrow-derived DCs (BMDCs) with invasive L. lactis strains expressing either Staphylococcus aureus Fibronectin Binding Protein A (LL-FnBPA+), or Listeria monocytogenes mutated Internalin A (LL-mInlA+), both strains carrying a plasmid DNA vaccine (pValac) encoding for the cow milk allergen β-lactoglobulin (BLG). We demonstrated that they can transfect BMDCs, inducing the secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12. We also measured the capacity of strains to invade a polarized monolayer of IECs, mimicking the situation encountered in the gastrointestinal tract. Gentamycin survival assay in these cells showed that LL-mInlA+ is 100 times more invasive than L. lactis. The cross-talk between differentiated IECs, BMDCs and bacteria was also evaluated using an in vitro transwell co-culture model. Co-incubation of strains in this model showed that DCs incubated with LL-mInlA+ containing pValac:BLG could express significant levels of BLG. These results suggest that DCs could sample bacteria containing the DNA vaccine across the epithelial barrier and express the antigen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4807-4812
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Dendritic cells
  • DNA delivery
  • Internalization
  • Lactococcus lactis
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Mutated internalin A
  • β-lactoglobulin

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