Veterinary microbiology

Antibodies derived from a toxoid MEFA (multiepitope fusion antigen) show neutralizing activities against heat-labile toxin (LT), heat-stable toxins (STa, STb), and Shiga toxin 2e (Stx2e) of porcine enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC).

PMID 26878972


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) strains are the main cause of diarrhea in pigs. Pig diarrhea especially post-weaning diarrhea remains one of the most important swine diseases. ETEC bacterial fimbriae including K88, F18, 987P, K99 and F41 promote bacterial attachment to intestinal epithelial cells and facilitate ETEC colonization in pig small intestine. ETEC enterotoxins including heat-labile toxin (LT) and heat-stable toxins type Ia (porcine-type STa) and type II (STb) stimulate fluid hyper-secretion, leading to watery diarrhea. Blocking bacteria colonization and/or neutralizing enterotoxicity of ETEC toxins are considered effective prevention against ETEC diarrhea. In this study, we applied the MEFA (multiepitope fusion antigen) strategy to create toxoid MEFAs that carried antigenic elements of ETEC toxins, and examined for broad antitoxin immunogenicity in a murine model. By embedding STa toxoid STaP12F (NTFYCCELCCNFACAGCY), a STb epitope (KKDLCEHY), and an epitope of Stx2e A subunit (QSYVSSLN) into the A1 peptide of a monomeric LT toxoid (LTR192G), two toxoid MEFAs, 'LTR192G-STb-Stx2e-STaP12F' and 'LTR192G-STb-Stx2e-3xSTaP12F' which carried three copies of STaP12F, were constructed. Mice intraperitoneally immunized with each toxoid MEFA developed IgG antibodies to all four toxins. Induced antibodies showed in vitro neutralizing activities against LT, STa, STb and Stx2e toxins. Moreover, suckling piglets born by a gilt immunized with 'LTR192G-STb-Stx2e-3xSTaP12F' were protected when challenged with ETEC strains, whereas piglets born by a control gilt developed diarrhea. Results from this study showed that the toxoid MEFA induced broadly antitoxin antibodies, and suggested potential application of the toxoid MEFA for developing a broad-spectrum vaccine against ETEC diarrhea in pigs.