Development of a vaccine for Mycoplasma bovis in cattle

Lung pathology in Mycoplasma bovis infected cattle (10x magnification, H&E stained)

Project Team: Jose Perez-Casal, Teresia Maina, Tracy Prysliak

Mycoplasma bovis can cause chronic bronchopneumonia and polyarthritis in cattle. The bacterium is mainly controlled by quarantine and antibiotic use as available vaccines are only moderately effective. 

To better protect feedlot cattle, we are developing a vaccine using reverse vaccinology. We identified several antigens that promote strong humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Vaccines containing these antigens are currently being tested in cattle. We are also investigating the impact of M. bovis on host immune cell apoptosis and suppression of host immune cell functions.

Mycoplasma bovis is emerging as an important pathogen in farmed bison. It causes severe respiratory disease and high mortality with losses of up to 20-25% in affected herds. With collaborators in Alberta and the United States Department of Agriculture we are studying the disease epidemiology to compare isolates from bison and cattle for phenotypic traits. Isolates that display different virulence properties, and isolates that exhibit higher resistance to antimicrobials have been identified. We also assessed factors that enhance the occurrence of disease in farmed bison.