Use of live bacterial vaccine vectors for antigen delivery: potential and limitations

Vaccine. 2001 Feb 8;19(13-14):1573-80. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(00)00354-6.


Most infectious agents are restricted to the mucosal membranes or their transit through the mucosa constitutes a critical step in the infection process. Therefore, the elicitation of an efficient immune response, not only at systemic, but also at mucosal level, after vaccination is highly desirable, representing a significant advantage in order to prevent infection. This goal can be only achieved, when the vaccine formulation is administered by the mucosal route. However, soluble antigens given by this route are usually poorly immunogenic. Among the available approaches to stimulate efficient mucosal responses, the use of bacterial carriers to deliver vaccine antigens, probably, constitutes one of the most successful strategies. The potential and limitations of the most extensively studied bacterial carrier systems will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus anthracis / genetics
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Immunity / immunology*
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology
  • Lactobacillus / genetics
  • Listeria monocytogenes / genetics
  • Mycobacterium bovis / genetics
  • Salmonella / genetics
  • Shigella / genetics
  • Staphylococcus / genetics
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / adverse effects
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / genetics*
  • Vaccines, Synthetic / immunology*
  • Virulence
  • Yersinia enterocolitica / genetics


  • Vaccines, Synthetic