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Expression and morphology of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli surface antigen CS31A in E. coli K12 and Vibrio cholerae

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Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is known as a worldwide cause of diarrheal disease. The pathogenesis involves the attachment of the microorganisms to the mucosa and the production of enterotoxins. Surface expression of CS31A fimbriae was assessed by Western blots, dot blots, immunofluorescence, and electron microscopy using negative staining and immunogold labeling. These investigations revealed significant differences in both the morphology of the wild-type and recombinant strains and the antigen exposure of CS31A in the wild-type and recombinant strains. In the wild-type ETEC strain, expression of CS31A was subject to phase variation. The recombinant E. coli strain produced CS31A but was prone to epitope shedding. In Vibrio cholerae vaccine strain CVD 103-HgR, the recombinant CS31A antigen was expressed but was only found intracellularly. Thus, E. coli strains seem to lend themselves better to the development of recombinant vaccines expressing ETEC-specific antigens at the cell’s surface than strains from other orders or genera such as V. cholerae.

Keywords: CS31A; ETEC; Vibrio cholerae; fimbriae

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Division of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Berne, Veterinary School, P.O. Box 8466 CH-3001 Bern, Switzerland. 2: Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Berne, P.O. Box 8466 CH-3001 Bern, Switzerland. 3: Crucell Switzerland Limited, Department of Regulatory Affairs, Rehhagstrasse 79, 3018 Bern, Switzerland.

Publication date: June 9, 2012

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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