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FEBS Lett. 1986 Nov 24;208(2):194-8.

Immunoactive chimeric ST-LT enterotoxins of Escherichia coli generated by in vitro gene fusion.


Two different lengths of the gene encoding Escherichia coli heat-stable toxin (STa) were fused to the carboxy end of the gene coding for the E. coli heat-labile toxin A-subunit (LTA). The hybrid genes directed expression of chimeric LTA-STa proteins. Association of these chimeras with native heat-labile toxin B-subunit (LTB) resulted in protein complexes that bound to GM1 ganglioside and thereby could be assayed in a GM1 ELISA. The complexes reacted with monoclonal antibodies against either LTA, LTB or STa indicating that the STa and LT epitopes remained immunologically intact after fusion. Genetically constructed chimeric proteins exhibiting LT and STa antigens on the same molecule may represent a promising approach to development of broadly protective immunoprophylactic agents and/or useful immunodiagnostic reagents for diarrhoeal diseases caused by enterotoxinogenic E. coli.

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