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Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Aug;56(8):513-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1348-0421.2012.00477.x.

Oral immunization with attenuated Salmonella vaccine expressing Escherichia coli O157:H7 intimin gamma triggers both systemic and mucosal humoral immunity in mice.

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Department of Genetics, Evolution and Bioagents, Institute of Biology, Campinas State University, Campinas, SP, Brazil.


Human infections with EHEC such as O157:H7 have been a great concern for worldwide food-industry surveillance. This pathogen is commonly associated with bloody diarrhea that can evolve to the life-threatening hemolytic uremic syndrome. Animals are the natural reservoir where this pathogen remains asymptomatically, in steps of ingestion and colonization of the bowel. The bacterium is shed in the feces, contaminating the surroundings, including water and food that are directed for human consumption. A major player in this colonization process is intimin, an outer membrane adhesion molecule encoded by the E. coli attachment and effacement (eae) gene that has been shown to be essential for intimate bacterial attachment to eukaryotic host cells. In an attempt to reduce the colonization of animal reservoirs with EHEC O157:H7, we designed a vaccine model to induce an immune response against intimin gamma. The model is based on its recombinant expression in attenuated Salmonella, used as a suitable vaccine vector because of its recognized ability to deliver recombinant antigens and to elicit all forms of immunity: mucosal, systemic, and humoral responses. To test this model, mice were orally immunized with a S. enterica serovar Typhimurium strain carrying the pYA3137eaeA vector, and challenged with E. coli O157:H7. Here we show that immunization induced the production of high levels of specific IgG and IgA antibodies and promoted reduction in the fecal shedding of EHEC after challenge. The live recombinant vaccine reported herein may contribute to the efforts of reducing animal intestinal mucosa colonization.

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