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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003 Jul 15;37(2-3):185-92.

Construction of recombinant S-layer proteins (rSbsA) and their expression in bacterial ghosts--a delivery system for the nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae antigen Omp26.

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Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Vienna Biocentre, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


This study has investigated the feasibility of a combination of recombinant surface layer (S-layer) proteins and empty bacterial cell envelopes (ghosts) to deliver candidate antigens for a vaccine against nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) infections. The S-layer gene sbsA from Bacillus stearothermophilus PV72 was used for the construction of fusion proteins. Fusion of maltose binding protein (MBP) to the N-terminus of SbsA allowed expression of the S-layer in the periplasm of Escherichia coli. The outer membrane protein (Omp) 26 of NTHi was inserted into the N-terminal and C-terminal regions of SbsA. The presence of the fused antigen Omp26 was demonstrated by Western blot experiments using anti-Omp26 antisera. Electron microscopy showed that the recombinant SbsA maintained the ability to self-assemble into sheet-like and cylindrical structures. Recombinant E. coli cell envelopes (ghosts) were produced by the expression of SbsA/Omp26 fusion proteins prior to gene E-mediated lysis. Intraperitoneal immunization with these recombinant bacterial ghosts induced an Omp26-specific antibody response in BALB/c mice. These results demonstrate that the NTHi antigen, Omp26, was expressed in the S-layer self-assembly product and this construct was immunogenic for Omp26 when administered to mice in bacterial cell envelopes.

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