Daniel Hirschhorn

Graduate Reasearch Assistant

Research Interest:

Development of a contraceptive vaccine for the control of mammalian pests.

 The need for mammal pest control has been recognized as an immediate worldwide requirement since pest-sized populations can cause immense economic and human damage. The objective of the proposed study is to develop novel fertility control agents for mammalian pest control.  These immunotraceptives have been proposed to be cost-effective, environmentally friendly, humane, and will retain their effectiveness over time bringing a population size to acceptable levels.

The basic idea behind contraceptive vaccines or immunocontraceptives is the induction of animals to create sperm or egg specific antibodies such that the fertilization process will be interrupted.  This can be accomplished by vaccinating animals with proteins that are produced exclusively in the gonads.  Our approach consists in the use of the sperm antigen lactate dehydrogenase C (LDH-C) from mice to develop three types of vaccines targeted to induce mucosal immunity.  These vaccines are intended to be prepared in a bait-type formulation and administered to animals in the wild or in controlled environments.

The first approach consists in the development of a genetically modified attenuated strain of Salmonella expressing on its surface an epitope of LDH-C.  This is accomplished by genetically fusing the B-cell epitope to the transmembrane protein omp-A from E. coli.

The second approach involves the generation of transgenic tobacco and Arrabidopsis expressing either murine LDH-C or a related peptide consisting of a B-cell epitope from LDH-C and a promiscuous Th-cell epitope. 

Lastly, the development of a DNA vaccine was considered.  The cDNA sequence of murine LDH-C or the related peptide was cloned into a vector under the control of the strong mammalian CMV promoter.