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Vet Microbiol. 2007 Jul 20;123(1-3):254-61. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Vaccination of calves with EspA, a key colonisation factor of Escherichia coli O157:H7, induces antigen-specific humoral responses but does not confer protection against intestinal colonisation.

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Division of Microbiology, Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Berkshire, RG20 7NN, United Kingdom.


Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infections in humans are frequently associated with direct or indirect contact with ruminant faeces and may result in haemorrhagic colitis and severe renal and neurological sequelae. Broadly cross-protective vaccines for control of EHEC do not yet exist and the molecular mechanisms that influence bacterial persistence in the intestines of ruminants are incompletely understood. We sought to determine the role in colonisation and protective efficacy of EspA, which forms a filamentous extension of the locus of enterocyte effacement-encoded type III secretion system that injects EHEC proteins into enterocytes. A non-polar deletion of espA severely impaired the ability of E. coli O157:H7 to colonise the intestines of calves. Vaccination of calves with highly purified recombinant EspA induced high-titre antigen-specific IgG1 (also reactive to native EspA) and salivary IgA responses, however these responses did not protect calves against intestinal colonisation by E. coli O157:H7 upon experimental infection.

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