Chlamydia psittaci is an obligate intracellular bacteria that causes respiratory disease in poultry and humans. Currently, there are no licensed vaccines against chlamydial infection in humans. The transmembrane head protein CPSIT_0846 of C. psittaci is a putative member of the larger Inc protein family. In this study, we investigated immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the recombinant CPSIT_0846 protein in BALB/c mice. Mice immunized with CPSIT_0846 developed strong T lymphocyte responses that were recalled by the immunogen CPSIT_0846 in an in vitro restimulation assay. These T cells displayed a strong Th1-biased cytokine profile with high levels of IFN-γ. At the same time, a strong humoral immune response was also detected in the immunized mice with high titers of Chlamydia psittaci-specific serum IgG antibodies. More importantly, the robust immune responses correlated well with significantly reduced chlamydial burden and inflammatory pathology in the mouse lungs upon an airway challenge infection. The above results together suggest that the CPSIT_0846 protein may be a potential vaccine candidate antigen for inducing protection against C.psittaci infection and disease in the airway.

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