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Parasite Immunol. 1998 Apr;20(4):183-95.

Mapping of B epitopes in GRA4, a dense granule antigen of Toxoplasma gondii and protection studies using recombinant proteins administered by the oral route.

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CJF INSERM 93-09, UFR des Sciences Pharmaceutiques, Tours, France.


GRA4, a dense granule protein of Toxoplasma gondii elicits both mucosal and systemic immune responses following oral infection of mice with cysts. We studied the antigenicity and immunogenicity of truncated and soluble forms of GRA4 expressed as glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins in Escherichia coli. Protein C (amino-acids 297-345) was particularly well recognized by serum IgG antibodies, milk IgA antibodies and intestinal IgA antibodies from T. gondii infected mice and by serum IgG antibodies from T. gondii infected humans and T. gondii infected sheep. One major B epitope was localized within the last 11 C-terminal residues of GRA4. A second epitope, recognized with lower frequency, was mapped within the region 318-334. In contrast, the N domain of GRA4 (amino acids 25-276) was poorly recognized. Oral immunization of C57BL/6 mice with N, C or NC (amino acids 25-276 fused to 297-345) in association with cholera toxin induced a significant production of serum anti-GRA4 IgG antibodies but a weak and inconsistent intestinal anti-GRA4 IgG antibody response and afforded partial resistance to oral infection with T. gondii. These results provide new molecular and immunological understanding of GRA4 and indicate that it is a potential candidate for oral vaccination against T. gondii.

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