The development of a subunit Salmonella vaccine has been hindered by the absence of detailed information about antigenic targets of protective Salmonella-specific T and B cells. Recent studies have identified SseB as a modestly protective Ag in susceptible C57BL/6 mice, but the mechanism of protective immunity remains undefined. In this article, we report that simply combining Salmonella SseB with flagellin substantially enhances protective immunity, allowing immunized C57BL/6 mice to survive for up to 30 d following challenge with virulent bacteria. Surprisingly, the enhancing effect of flagellin did not require flagellin Ag targeting during secondary responses or recognition of flagellin by TLR5. Although coimmunization with flagellin did not affect SseB-specific Ab responses, it modestly boosted CD4 responses. In addition, protective immunity was effectively transferred in circulation to parabionts of immunized mice, demonstrating that tissue-resident memory is not required for vaccine-induced protection. Finally, protective immunity required host expression of IFN-γR but was independent of induced NO synthase expression. Taken together, these data indicate that Salmonella flagellin has unique adjuvant properties that improve SseBmediated protective immunity provided by circulating memory.
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