Genetic stability of the live attenuated Bordetella pertussis vaccine candidate BPZE1

Vaccine. 2008 Oct 23;26(45):5722-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2008.08.018. Epub 2008 Aug 30.


Despite the extensive use of efficacious pertussis vaccines, Bordetella pertussis infections are still among the main causes for childhood morbidity and mortality. Severe pertussis occurs mostly in very young children, often too young to be sufficiently protected by current vaccines, which require several administrations in regimens that vary between countries. Since natural infection with B. pertussis is able to induce protection, we have developed the live attenuated B. pertussis vaccine strain BPZE1 that protects mice upon a single intranasal administration. This strain was obtained by genetically inactivating pertussis toxin via two point mutations in the ptx gene, by deleting dnt encoding dermonecrotic toxin, and by replacing the B. pertussis ampG gene by Escherichia coli ampG, resulting in the removal of tracheal cytotoxin. Here, we assessed the genetic stability of BPZE1 after 20 and 27 weeks of continuous passaging in vitro and in vivo, respectively. BPZE1 was passaged 20 times in vitro and 9 times in vivo in Balb/C mice. After these passages, 8 hemolytic colonies were analyzed by PCR for the absence of dnt and B. pertussis ampG and the presence of E. coli ampG, by DNA sequencing for the presence of the two ptx point mutations and by DNA microarrays for the global genomic stability. In addition, the protective capacity of BPZE1 was evaluated after the passages. No genetic or protective difference was detected between the passaged bacteria and non-passaged BPZE1, indicating that stability of the vaccine strain is not a concern for BPZE1 to be considered as an attenuated live vaccine against whooping cough.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bordetella pertussis / classification
  • Bordetella pertussis / genetics*
  • Bordetella pertussis / pathogenicity*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mutation*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Pertussis Vaccine / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Serial Passage
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Attenuated / genetics
  • Whooping Cough / microbiology
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control*


  • Pertussis Vaccine
  • Vaccines, Attenuated