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Microb Pathog. 1999 Sep;27(3):133-43.

Recombinant hyaluronate associated protein as a protective immunogen against Streptococcus equi and Streptococcus zooepidemicus challenge in mice.

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Lanwades Park, Animal Health Trust, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 7UU, U.K.


The capsule of Streptococcus equi, the cause of strangles, and Streptococcus zooepidemicus, associated with equine lower airway disease, plays an important role in evasion of phagocytosis by polymorphonuclear leucocytes. It is composed of hyaluronate, making it non-immunogenic. A hyaluronate associated protein (HAP) from S. equisimilis, whose gene has been sequenced [1], was investigated (a) for its presence in S. equi and S. zooepidemicus and (b) as an immunogen able to interfere with capsule structure and protect against experimental challenge of mice. The purified capsule of S. equi contained a protein of similar molecular mass to the S. equisimilis protein (approximately 53 kDa). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using primers derived from the published sequence of S. equisimilis HAP yielded a product from S. equi and S. zooepidemicus of the expected size and susceptibility to restriction endonucleases. Subcloning of two large in frame StuI/SspI fragments of the HAP gene from S. equi, approximately equivalent to the two halves of the molecule, into the expression vector pGEX-3X yielded only the carboxy half in the correct orientation. This latter recombinant produced a GST fusion protein (HAP-GST) of the expected size that was affinity purified. Antibodies in rabbit antiserum to the native protein in purified hyaluronate reacted strongly in immunoblots with HAP-GST. Antiserum to HAP-GST, when soaked into filter paper strips, caused a diminution of capsule production by S. equi cultured on blood agar. Antiserum added into fresh rabbit blood was not opsonic for S. equi. Immunization with HAP-GST significantly reduced rhinitis in Balb/C mice challenged nasally with S. equi and significantly increased survival time and clearance of bacteria in CBA/CA mice challenged intraperitoneally with S. zooepidemicus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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