Leptospirosis vaccines that elicit broad protection against a range of pathogenic Leptospira spp. would overcome a major drawback of currently licensed bacterin vaccines. Live attenuated vaccine produced from a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) mutant strain of L. interrogans serovar Manilae M1352 (Live M1352) stimulated better protective efficacy than heat killed M1352 (HK M1352) against a heterologous challenge with L. interrogans serovar Pomona. To identify antigens of Live M1352 potentially responsible for cross protection, in vivo-induced antigen technology (IVIAT), a powerful tool to identify in vivo-induced (ivi) genes expressed during infection, was employed in this study. Pooled sera from hamsters immunized with Live M1352 were sequentially adsorbed with various preparations of in vitro grown M1352. The pre-adsorbed sera were used to screen a genomic expression library of M1352. Nineteen strongly reactive clones were selected for DNA sequencing. These ivi genes are conserved in most Leptospira strains. Four selected genes including LIMLP_04965 (tolB), LIMLP_01535, LIMLP_06785 (fliI), and LIMLP_14930 were confirmed for their upregulated expression in kidneys of infected hamsters by RT-qPCR, suggesting their role in leptospiral infection. These ivi proteins represent potential targets for vaccine candidates that warrant further investigation for their protective efficacy.
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