Prime-boost immunization strategies are required to control the global tuberculosis (TB) pandemic, which claims approximately 3 lives every minute. Here, we have generated an immunogenic complex against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), consisting of promiscuous T cell epitopes (M.tb peptides) and TLR ligands assembled in liposomes. Interestingly, this complex (peptide–TLR agonist–liposomes; PTL) induced significant activation of CD4+ T cells and IFN-γ production in the PBMCs derived from PPD+ healthy individuals as compared with PPD– controls. Furthermore, intranasal delivery of PTL significantly reduced the bacterial burden in the infected mice by inducing M.tb-specific polyfunctional (IFN-γ+IL-17+TNF-α+IL-2+) immune responses and long-lasting central memory responses, thereby reducing the risk of TB recurrence in DOTS-treated infected animals. The transcriptome analysis of peptide-stimulated immune cells unveiled the molecular basis of enhanced protection. Furthermore, PTL immunization significantly boosted the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin–primed (BCG-primed) immune responses against TB. The greatly enhanced efficacy of the BCG-PTL vaccine model in controlling pulmonary TB projects PTL as an adjunct vaccine against TB.


Santosh Kumar, Ashima Bhaskar, Gautam Patnaik, Chetan Sharma, Dhiraj Kumar Singh, Sandeep Rai Kaushik, Shivam Chaturvedi, Gobardhan Das, Ved Prakash Dwivedi


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