Breakthrough in Designing a Better Salmonella Vaccine

Salmonella bacteria (red) invading human cells.
Salmonella bacteria (red) invading human cells. Salmonella infections can cause severe disease and current vaccines are inadequate. New work in mouse models shows which cells are responsible for immunity to Salmonella and may lead to improved vaccines. Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH

UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection—a critical step in developing a more effective and safe vaccine against a bacterium that annually kills an estimated one million people worldwide.

Professor Stephen McSorley, interim director of the Center for Comparative Medicine, led a collaborative group of scientists from the University of Melbourne, Australia, the University of Connecticut and UC Davis. They evaluated the difference between circulating and non-circulating memory T cells in providing immunity to Salmonella infection in mice models.

“What everyone has been focused on in immunology, not just in addressing Salmonella, but all infectious diseases for the past 50 years or so, has been antibody and T cell responses,” McSorley said. “What hasn’t been realized until very recently is there are actually two different categories of T cells—those that circulate through tissues in the body and those that never move and are known as tissue resident or non-circulating memory cells.”

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