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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Nov 15;192(2):223-9.

Contribution of defined amino acid residues to the immunogenicity of recombinant Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin fusion proteins.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Centre de Recherches de Clermont-Ferrand-Theix, 63122, Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.


We investigated whether the toxicity-associated receptor-binding domain of the non-immunogenic Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin (STh) as a fusion with a carrier protein and the inclusion of an appropriate spacer are critical factors for eliciting antibody responses against the native toxin. The immunological properties of three toxic and one non-toxic fusion proteins, consisting of STh N-terminally joined to the C-terminus of the major subunit ClpG of E. coli CS31A fimbriae, were compared. In contrast to the non-toxic hybrid STh with glycine and leucine simultaneously substituted for the receptor-interacting Pro(13) and Ala(14) amino acids, the toxic chimeras responded by producing high serum levels of anti-STh antibodies in immunized animals. On the other hand, only the toxic ClpG-STh construct with the natural peptide 47KSGPESM(53) of Pro-STh as spacer stimulated STh-neutralizing responses against both native toxin and enterotoxigenic live E. coli cells. Altogether, these findings suggest a close relationship between conformational similarity to the native structure of STh and the ability to elicit specific antibody responses against STh.

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