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Bioconjug Chem. 2011 Oct 19;22(10):2179-85. doi: 10.1021/bc2001984. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

Simple, direct conjugation of bacterial O-SP-core antigens to proteins: development of cholera conjugate vaccines.

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  • 1NIDDK, LBC, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0815, United States.


Bacterial O-SP-core antigens can be conjugated to proteins in the same, simple way as synthetic, linker-equipped carbohydrates by applying squaric acid chemistry. Introduction of spacers (linkers) to either O-SP-core antigens or protein carriers, which is involved in commonly applied protocols, is not required. The newly developed method described here consists of preparation of a squaric acid monoester derivative of O-SP-core antigen, utilizing the amino group inherent in the core, and reaction of the monoester with the carrier protein. The intermediate monoester can be easily purified; its conjugation can be monitored by SELDI-TOF mass spectrometry and, thus, readily controlled, since the conjugation can be terminated when the desired carbohydrate-protein ratio is reached. Here, we describe production of conjugates containing the O-SP-core antigen of Vibrio cholerae O1, the major cause of cholera, a severe dehydrating diarrheal disease of humans. The resultant products are recognized by convalescent phase sera from patients recovering from cholera in Bangladesh, and anti-O-SP-core-protein responses correlate with plasma antilipopolysaccharide and vibriocidal responses, which are the primary markers of protection from cholera. The results suggest that such conjugates have potential as vaccines for cholera and other bacterial diseases.

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