Putting Salmonella to Work

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Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 485h-487h
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.485h

To facilitate the production of oral vaccines, attenuated versions of the intracellular bacteria Salmonella typhimurium have been developed as “carriers” of the genes or genomes from other pathogenic organisms. Rüssmann et al. (p. 565) use the bacterium's own specialized secretion system, the type III system, to generate cytotoxic T cells that protect against an otherwise lethal viral infection in mice. The type III secretion system ensures that the “hitchhiking” viral proteins get injected into the cytoplasm of the host cell. The proteins are then processed and transported to the cell surface as peptides bound to class I major histocompatibility molecules, where they stimulate a cellular immune response. Salmonella now has the potential to be an easy-to-administer vaccine for generating cytotoxic protection.

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