Enhanced expression of soluble recombinant tetanus neurotoxin Hc in Escherichia coli as a tetanus vaccine candidate.

PMID 20888666


The expression of the carboxyl fragment of the heavy chain of tetanus neurotoxin (TeNT-Hc) in Escherichia coli has been hampered by the unusually high AT content and the presence of rarely used codons by Clostridium. The gene encoding TeNT-Hc was optimized for E. coli by replacing rare codons and decreasing the AT pairs from 72.57% to 52.47%. The reconstructed gene was expressed in E. coli BL21(DE3) and resulted in a soluble product which was about 46% of the total bacterial protein. TeNT-Hc produced in a 42 L fermentor was purified to >95% at 87 g/kg of cell paste (approximately 333 mg/L). BALB/c mice vaccinated with three bi-weekly doses of TeNT-Hc with Freund's adjuvant were fully protected against an intraperitoneally challenge of 2 × 10(3) 50% lethal doses (LD(50)s) of tetanus neurotoxin. NIH mice vaccinated with TeNT-Hc adsorbed to aluminum hydroxide gel adjuvant demonstrated a potency of 168 IU/mL, which was 2 times higher than the national standard for tetanus vaccines. These results suggest that TeNT-Hc may be a promising second-generation vaccine candidate for clinical use against tetanus neurotoxin.

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