Attenuation and preserved immunogenic potential of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis mutant strains evidenced in oral pig model.
Experimental oral infection of pigs with a parental Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strain pIB102, serotype O:3 and two mutant isogenic strains - pIB155,ΔyopK and pIB44,ΔypkA has been carried out. Clinical findings, microbiological and immunological parameters were examined in dynamics from day 7 to day 60 post-infection (p.i.). All types of infections ran asymptomatically, without hyperthermia, loss of appetite, etc. Experiments on the blood parameters demonstrated a transient leucocytosis with lymphocytosis and monocytosis better expressed after yopK infection. Even though pig is usually known as a reservoir of yersiniae, bacterial colonization was found in mesenterial lymph nodes and tonsils on day 7, respectively 14 p.i. with parental strain, and only in tonsils on day 14 p.i. with both mutant strains. The augmented sensitivity of mutants to the bactericidal effect of leukocytes and blood sera is the characteristic feature of attenuation in their pathogenicity, compared to the parental strain. Comparative in vitro experiments on the immune response and immunostimulating capacity of Y. pseudotuberculosis mutant strains verify their preserved immunogenic potential, predominantly in case of yopK. Hyperplasia and strong activation of the lymph tissue of Peyer's patches, mesenterial lymph nodes, tonsils and spleen of pigs challenged with both mutant strains were proved as immunomorphological rearrangements. The results obtained give the reason to claim that the genetically constructed yopK null mutant strain is significantly attenuated but is still immunogenic and has the potential for a live vaccine carrier strain.