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AMB Express. 2012 Oct 15;2(1):55. doi: 10.1186/2191-0855-2-55.

Immunological characterization of recombinant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi FliC protein expressed in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Basic Medical Sciences Block, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 160014, India.


Like any other enteric pathogen, Salmonella also encounters acidic stress in the stomach as well as within the host macrophage milieu. However, the pathogen is reported to combat this stress through acid tolerance response (ATR), expressing a number of genes and eventually the proteins. Recently, an acid induced outer membrane phenotype encoded by fliC gene in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi has been identified. In the present study, fliC gene was cloned to study its biological implications. The recombinant FliC (rFliC) protein was observed to stimulate the production of antibodies. These antibodies could also recognize the FliC protein (antigen) in the clinical samples i.e. blood samples from typhoid patents as well as healthy blood samples spiked with serovar Typhi. Moreover, the rFliC also reacted with the sera from patients suffering with typhoid fever indicating its in-vivo immunogenicity. Ex-vivo study revealed that rFliC has the potential to stimulate the macrophages to generate higher levels of inflammatory mediators such as malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitrite. The inflammatory potential of FliC was also confirmed in-vivo, by the paw oedema test as well as by flicking response of the inflamed paw indicating hyperalgesia occurring during inflammatory response. The findings of the present study indicate that acid induced FliC might be one of the factors enhancing the virulence of serovar Typhi under the host acidic conditions and may prove to be helpful in designing the prophylactic measures.

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