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Infect Immun. 2012 Jan;80(1):215-27. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05798-11. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Association and evidence for linked recognition of type IV secretion system proteins VirB9-1, VirB9-2, and VirB10 in Anaplasma marginale.

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Program in Vector-Borne Diseases, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA.


Like several other bacterial pathogens, Anaplasma marginale has an outer membrane that induces complete protection from infection and disease. However, the proteins that confer protective immunity and whether protection requires interacting proteins and/or linked T-cell and immunoglobulin G epitopes are not known. Our goal is to target the conserved type IV secretion system (T4SS) to identify conserved, immunogenic membrane proteins that are interacting and linked recognition candidates. Linked recognition is a process by which a B cell is optimally activated by a helper T cell that responds to the same, or physically associated, antigen. A. marginale T4SS proteins VirB2, VirB4-1, VirB4-2, VirB6-1, VirB7, VirB8-2, VirB9-1, VirB9-2, VirB10, VirB11, and VirD4 were screened for their ability to induce IgG and to stimulate CD4+ T cells from outer membrane-vaccinated cattle. VirB9-1, VirB9-2, and VirB10 induced the strongest IgG and T-cell responses in the majority of cattle, although three animals with major histocompatibility complex class II DRB3 restriction fragment length polymorphism types 8/23, 3/16, and 16/27 lacked T-cell responses to VirB9-1, VirB9-1 and VirB9-2, or VirB9-2 and VirB10, respectively. For these animals, VirB9-1-, VirB9-2-, and VirB10-specific IgG production may be associated with T-cell help provided by responses to an interacting protein partner(s). Interacting protein partners indicated by far-Western blotting were confirmed by immunoprecipitation assays and revealed, for the first time, specific interactions of VirB9-1 with VirB9-2 and VirB10. The immunogenicity and interactions of VirB9-1, VirB9-2, and VirB10 justify their testing as a linked protein vaccine against A. marginale.

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