Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 91, Issue 2, pp 265–286 | Cite as

Progress on plague vaccine development

  • Jason A. Rosenzweig
  • Olufisayo Jejelowo
  • Jian Sha
  • Tatiana E. Erova
  • Sheri M. Brackman
  • Michelle L. Kirtley
  • Cristina J. van Lier
  • Ashok K. Chopra


Yersinia pestis (YP), the gram-negative plague bacterium, has shaped human history unlike any other pathogen known to mankind. YP (transmitted by the bite of an infected flea) diverged only recently from the related enteric pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis but causes radically different diseases. Three forms of plague exist in humans: bubonic (swollen lymph nodes or bubos), septicemic (spread of YP through the lymphatics or bloodstream from the bubos to other organs), and contagious, pneumonic plague which can be communicated via YP-charged respiratory droplets resulting in person–person transmission and rapid death if left untreated (50–90% mortality). Despite the potential threat of weaponized YP being employed in bioterrorism and YP infections remaining prevalent in endemic regions of the world where rodent populations are high (including the four corner regions of the USA), an efficacious vaccine that confers immunoprotection has yet to be developed. This review article will describe the current vaccine candidates being evaluated in various model systems and provide an overall summary on the progress of this important endeavor.


Plague Vaccine Yersinia pestis Bubonic Septicemic Pneumonic plague 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason A. Rosenzweig
    • 1
  • Olufisayo Jejelowo
    • 1
  • Jian Sha
    • 2
  • Tatiana E. Erova
    • 2
  • Sheri M. Brackman
    • 2
  • Michelle L. Kirtley
    • 2
  • Cristina J. van Lier
    • 2
  • Ashok K. Chopra
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Center for Bionanotechnology and Environmental Research (CBER)Texas Southern UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  3. 3.Sealy Center for Vaccine DevelopmentUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Human Infections and ImmunityUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  5. 5.Galveston National LaboratoryUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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