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Title:  Construction of live attenuated Shigella vaccine strains that express CFA/I antigens (CfaB and CfaE) and the B subunit of heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) from enterotoxigenic E. coli
United States Patent: 
7,759,106
Issued: 
July 20, 2010

Inventors:
 Ranallo; Ryan T. (Gaithersburg, MD), Venkatesan; Malabi M. (Bethesda, MD)
Assignee:
  The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army (Washington, DC)
Appl. No.:
 11/132,199
Filed:
 May 19, 2005


 

Covidien Pharmaceuticals Outsourcing


Abstract

With the goal of creating a combination vaccine against Shigella and other diarrheal pathogens we have constructed a prototype vaccine strain of Shigella flexneri 2a (SC608) that can serve as a vector for the expression and delivery of heterologous antigens to the mucosal immune system. SC608 is an asd derivative of SC602, a well-characterized vaccine strain, which has recently undergone several phase 1 and 2 trials for safety and immunogenicity. Using non-antibiotic asd-based plasmids, we have created novel constructs for the expression of antigens from enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), including CFA/I (CfaB and CfaE) and the B-subunit from heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) in Shigella vaccine strain SC608. Heterologous protein expression levels and cellular localization are critical to immune recognition and have been verified by immunoblot analysis. Following intranasal immunization (SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) of guinea pigs, serum IgG and IgA immune responses to both the Shigella LPS and ETEC antigens can be detected by ELISA. In addition, ELISPOT analysis for ASCs from cervical lymph nodes and spleen showed similar responses. All vaccine strains conferred high levels of protection against challenge with wild-type S. flexneri 2a using the Sereny test. Furthermore, serum from guinea pigs immunized with SC608 expressing CfaB and LTB contained antibodies capable of neutralizing the cytological affects of heat-labile toxin (HLT) on Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. These initial experiments demonstrate the validity of a multivalent invasive Shigella strain that can serve as a vector for the delivery of pathogen-derived antigens.

Description of the Invention

FIELD OF INVENTION

The invention relates to materials and methodologies for preparing multivalent vaccines, recombinant DNA expression products and more particularly to vector constructs which effectively express the cfaB, cfaE and LTB proteins in Shigella spp. without affecting the ability of the Shigella strain to invade cells of the colonic epithelium following oral administration to humans.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Diarrheal diseases are a significant global problem resulting in high levels of morbidity and mortality especially to children under the age of 5. Two of the most prominent agents that cause diarrheal disease are Shigella spp and enterotoxigenic E. coli. (ETEC). Current measures for preventing and treating these diseases are insufficient in that over 375 million cases occur with an estimated 1.48 million resulting in death annually (34).

Shigella spp are invasive pathogens that can cause disease through ingestion of food or water contaminated with as little as 100 bacteria. Shigella can penetrate the intestinal epithelial cells of the colonic mucosa and stimulate a mucosal inflammatory response eliciting the production of an array of proinflammatory cytokines leading to recruitment of neutrophils and macrophages (reviewed in (15)). Following invasion, the bacteria multiply and spread to contiguous cells using actin polymerization (25). The resulting disease shigellosis (bacillary dysentery) is characterized by an inflammatory condition of the colon with accompanying fever, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea and passage of blood and mucus-containing stools (13).

Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) is also transmitted through contaminated food or water, however the infectious dose for ETEC is much higher (11). Once ingested, ETEC attach to mucosal epithelial cells using proteinacious fimbriae or colonization factor antigens (CFAs or CFs) and can secrete up to two separate enterotoxins designated heat-stable toxin (ST) and heat-labile toxin (HLT) (reviewed in (19) and refs therein). Immune response to ETEC infections indicates secretory IgA (sIgA) directed towards CFs can provide protective immunity against homologous fimbrial type (11).

Currently, there is a significant effort being put forth toward the development of a safe and efficacious vaccine for both of these enteric diseases. These efforts include: subcellular complexes purified from virulent Shigella (30), detoxified LPS-conjugates, subunit approaches, killed whole-cell preparations, and attenuation of pathogenic isolates for use as live attenuated vaccines (34).

Precise or targeted attenuation of pathogenic (invasive) strains of Shigella has made significant progress over the past 15 years. Initially attenuating mutations were made in key biosynthetic pathways creating auxotrophic mutants, which maintain the invasive nature of Shigella. These mutations tended to reduce or eliminate intracellular replication once inside the host cytoplasm. However, a greater understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of Shigella has led to the targeting of specific virulence factors (24) and reviewed in (15). One such strain, SC602 has deletions in both IcsA and IucA (6). This strain is highly invasive, however once inside host cells it cannot spread to contiguous cells due to the IcsA mutation. IcsA mutants, unlike wild-type strains, do not elicit a characteristic keratoconjunctivitis (Sereny reaction) when applied to the eyes of guinea pigs, SC602 has recently undergone phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in North American volunteers and demonstrated significant protection against severe shigellosis (7, 20). However, the vaccine can be reactogenic at doses higher than 10.sup.4 thus demonstrating the need to balance attenuation with immunogenicity.

In addition to their potential for protection against shigellosis, attenuated strains of Shigella have been used as delivery vehicles for genes encoding numerous other protective antigens (1, 3-6, 21, 23). In one scenario the heterologous genes are regulated using a prokaryotic promoter and expressed by the attenuated bacteria. Immunogenicity of the antigen in this situation depends on the subcellular location and of the antigen within the bacteria (17, 22). The heterologous antigen is then processed by the immune system along with other bacterially derived antigens. Alternatively, the bacteria harbor heterologous genes under the control of a eukaryotic promoter. These so-called DNA vaccines are delivered to antigen presenting cell (APCs) following invasion and bacterial lysis. Once inside the APC the eukaryotic promoter is turned on and the expression of foreign proteins leads to an immune response (reviewed in (32)). Regarding the former scenario several considerations must be considered when expressing pathogen-derived heterologous protein antigens in attenuated bacterial vectors regardless of the antigen and species of bacteria. First, the antigen must be expressed at optimum level so as to minimize further attenuation of the vaccine strain. The second consideration is the cellular location and thus presentation to the immune system. A comparative study looking at antigen subcellular location (periplasmic or secreted vs. cytoplasmic) found that periplasmic and extracellular antigens are more immunogenic that antigens retained in the cytoplasm (17). Finally, the goal is to create a multivalent vaccine strain and thus heterologous antigen expression should not reduce the immunogenicity (invasiveness) of the bacterial vector.

There are several reports of Shigella being used as a carrier of both heterologous protein and DNA antigens. In particular, the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) of the University of Maryland School of Medicine has set out and made significant progress towards the goal of constructing a combination vaccine to protect against Shigella and ETEC-associated diarrhea (1, 2, 4, 21, 23). They have used the engineered Shigella vaccine strain CVD 1204 (.DELTA.guaBA) to express several ETEC fimbrial antigens as well as mutant heat-labile toxin (mLT) (1, 2, 4, 21). The CVD's approach has been to clone and express the entire fimbrial operon under the control of an inducible promoter. To date they have constructed and tested Shigella strains that express CFA/I, CS2, CS3, CS4, as well as detoxified mLT (LThK63 or LThR72). Guinea pigs immunized with mixed inoculums containing five different Shigella strains, each expressing individual ETEC fimbriae, showed serum and mucosal antibody responses to both the Shigella vector and the ETEC fimbriae (4).

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention includes primer pairs characterized as having a length of about 15-100 nucleotides, preferably between 25-75 nucleotides, most preferably 30-46 nucleotides, which pairs permit the PCR amplification of the entire CfaA, CfaB and CfaE open reading frames without the entire CFA/I operon but with the signal sequence of each protein along with restriction sites for insertion into a vector which insertion allows for expression, export and assembly of the protein on the bacterial surface. The primer pairs are grouped as follows: a) 5'-GATCAAGCTTCCATGAAAAAGGAGGGATGTA-3' [SEQ ID NO 1] and 5'-GATCCCATGGGCATGCATAAATTATTCTATTTACTAAGT-3' [SEQ ID NO 2] b) 5'-TACATGCCATGGATAAATTATTCTATTTACT-3' [SEQ ID NO 3] and 5'-ATTCTGTTATATATGTCAACCTGCAGGAGGGATGTATAAACATACC-'3 [SEQ ID NO 4], c) 5'-GGTATGTTTATACATCCCTCCTGCAGGTTGACATATATAACAGAAT-3' [SEQ ID NO 5] and 5'-TTACCCAAGCTTAGACATGCTTTTAAAGCAAA-3' [SEQ ID NO 6] and d) 5'-TACATGCCATGGATAAATTATTCTATTTACT-3' [SEQ ID NO 7] and 5'-CGTTTATCCTTTATCATTCTCTTAGTATATAGATGAGTAA-3' [SEQ ID NO 8] and e) 5'-TTACTCATCTATATACTAAGAGAATGATAAAGGATAAACG-3' [SEQ ID NO 9] and 5'-TTCAGCCCAAGCTTTAGCGCCAATATGTTGTTAT-3' [SEQ ID NO 10].

A further embodiment of the invention are vectors containing a cis-acting DNA promoter element capable of initiating the synthesis of mRNA operabley linked to an open reading frame containing one or more ETEC genes. ETEC genes of interest include cfaA, cfaB, cfaE, LTh B, (LTB). The vector is designed so that the entire CfaA, CfaB and CfaE open reading frames is expressed without the entire CFA/I operon. The resultant protein is exported and assembled on the bacterial surface. A conventional cis-acting promoter suitable for use in the invention is Ptrc. The exemplified vectors include plasmid pCFAI, pCFAI/LTB, and pCfaAE. These plasmids are derived from pYA3098. It should be noted that these vectors do not contain a gene that produces a product capable of breaking down any formally declared antimicrobial agent for the exclusive purpose of maintaining the vector. There is no antibiotic marker. The vector population can be maintained without the use of antibiotics.

The open reading frame can contain a chaperone-subunit consisting essentially of CfaA-CfaB or CfaA-CfaE and results in periplasmic accumulation of both the major and minor subunits from CFA/I. (A chaperone-subunit combination is an interaction between two proteins whereby the charperone enables the correct folding and stabilization of the subunit. The subunit here is a protein product that constituents a fimbriae from enterotoxigenic E. coli.)

The vectors of the invention can also contain the cfaABCE gene cluster from enterotoxigenic E. coli H10407. This open reading frame can also include CS6, CS3 and CS17 (Enterotoxigenic E. coli strains).

The open reading frame typically contains a single linear DNA fragment encoding the cfaA, cfaB, cfaE and LTh B (LTB) genes. This fragment is obtained by the PCR amplification using the primers of the invention.

A further embodiment of the invention are the use of the vectors to transform Shigella species which results in the periplasmic expression of heterologous antigens. This expression is not likely to alter either Shigella 's natural tissue tropism (colonic epithelium) following oral immunization or significantly reduce strains invasiveness. Suitable Shigella species include S. sonnei, S. dysenteriae and S. flexner, in particular S. sonnei WRSs1 and S. dysentariae WRSd1. Exemplified transformed shigella strains include Shigella vaccine strain, e.g. Shigella flexnari. 2a (SC608) (3098), Shigella flexnari 2a (SC608) (LTB), Shigella flexnari 2a (SC608) (CFAI) and Shigella flexnari 2a (SC608) (CFAI/LTB). These strains are characterized as having deletions in icsA which causes intracellular spreading of bacteria to contiguous host epithelial cells.

These transformed shigella strains are suitable for use in immunogenic composition, in particular vaccines. The vaccines are adapted for oral or mucosal administration. The vaccines induce a protective immune response and are suitable for the treatment of Shigella or ETEC-mediated Traveler's Diarrhea. the protective immune response is directed toward Shigella and ETEC. The immune response is directed to both Shigella LPS heterologous antigen and is measurable in serum, cervical lymph nodes, spleen or other mucosal surface.

The vaccines can be characterize as multivalent vaccine, e.g. bivalent vaccine. The Shigella can be either live or attenuated. The vaccine can be administered to the subject in one or a series of does over time.

In summary, the invention has as its goal the creation of a combination vaccine against Shigella and other diarrheal pathogens. A prototype vaccine strain of Shigella flexneri 2a (SC608) was constructed that can serve as a vector for the expression and delivery of heterologous antigens to the mucosal immune system. SC608 is an asd derivative of SC602, a well-characterized vaccine strain, which has recently undergone several phase 1 and 2 trials for safety and immunogenicity. Using non-antibiotic asd-based plasmids, a novel constructs were created for the expression of antigens from enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), including CFA/I (CfaB and CfaE) and the B-subunit from heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) in Shigella vaccine strain SC608. Heterologous protein expression levels and cellular localization are critical to immune recognition and have been verified by immunoblot analysis. Following intranasal immunization (SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) of guinea pigs, serum IgG and IgA immune responses to both the Shigella LPS and ETEC antigens can be detected by ELISA. In addition, ELISPOT analysis for ASCs from cervical lymph nodes and spleen showed similar responses. All vaccine strains conferred high levels of protection against challenge with wild-type S. flexneri 2a using the Sereny test. Furthermore, serum from guinea pigs immunized with SC608 expressing CfaB and LTB contained antibodies capable of neutralizing the cytological affects of heat-labile toxin (HLT) on Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. These initial experiments demonstrate the validity of a multivalent invasive Shigella strain that can serve as a vector for the delivery of pathogen-derived antigens.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is directed to a unique approach for creating a bivalent vaccine that uses Shigella flexneri 2a (strain SC608) as vector to carry ETEC antigens to the mucosal immune system. ETEC antigens are incorporated into SC608 by employing a plasmid-based aspartate semialdehyde dehydrogenase (asd) `balanced-lethal` system developed by Roy Curtiss III and colleagues (8). An asd mutant of Shigella flexneri 2a (SC602), called SC608 was created and used to express antigens from ETEC including the CFA/1 major subunit, CfaB, CFA/1 minor subunit CfaE and the B-subunit from the type I heat-labile toxin (LTB). The expression plasmids for CfaB, CfaE and LTB represent a novel method for fimbrial antigen expression. The chaperone-subunit (CfaA-CfaB and CfaA-CfaE) combination in each of the expression plasmids allows for periplasmic accumulation of both the major and minor subunits from CFA/I. This represents a novel configuration and provides a strategy for the construction of expression plasmids for other colonization factor antigens.

Heterologous protein expression levels are critical to immune recognition and have been verified by immunoblot analysis for all three expression plasmids. Strain invasiveness, a phenotype critical for the induction of an effective immune response, was confirmed using HeLa cell invasion with gentamicin protection. Immunogenicity experiments for SC608(pCFAI) and SC608(pCFAI/LTB) were assessed following intranasal immunization of guinea pigs. Serum and mucosal secretion were positive for both Shigella flexneri 2a LPS and ETEC antigens CFAI and LTB. In addition, ELISPOT analysis for antibody secreting cells from cervical lymph nodes and spleens correlated with the ELISA results. All immunized guinea pig were protected from severe conjunctivitis using the Sereny test. Finally, we have used in vitro assays to examine the specificity of the antibodies generated against ETEC antigens.

Cloning of CFA/I and LTB Expression Constructs:

The cfaABCE gene cluster from enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC) H 10407 (16) was used to design primers for PCR amplification of the entire CfaA, CfaB and CfaE open reading frames (ORFs). The primers were designed to include the signal sequence of each protein as well as restriction sites allowing for insertion into the asd-based vector pYA3098 (gift from Roy Curtiss III) down stream from the Ptrc promoter. The resulting clones (pCFAI and pCfaAE) are unique constructs for the expression of CfaB and CfaE (FIGS. 1A, 1C (see Original Patent)). Previous constructs employed for heterologous CFA/I expression in Shigella and Salmonella have included the entire CFA/I operon, allowing for not only expression, but also export and assembly of CFA/I fimbriae on the bacterial surface. We have chosen a different strategy for expressing ETEC fimbrial proteins in Shigella for several reasons. First, periplasmic expression of heterologous antigens is not likely to alter Shigella 's natural tissue tropism (colonic epithelium) following oral immunization. Second, this type of expression doesn't significantly reduce strains invasiveness (data not shown and FIG. 2E (see Original Patent)), a property that is likely necessary for induction of protective immune responses. In an attempt to create a more comprehensive Shigella-ETEC hybrid strain we generated a second construct, which included the B subunit of heat labile toxin (LTB) from ETEC. The eltB or LTh B gene sequence, encoding LTB, was used to design PCR primers for amplification of the LTB ORF. A second round of PCR was used to create a single DNA fragment containing the CfaA, CfaB, and LTB ORFS. This DNA fragment was inserted into pYA3098 down stream of the Ptrc promoter, creating the plasmid pCFAI/LTB (FIG. 1B (see Original Patent)).

Protein Expression of ETEC Antigens in Shigella Vaccine Strain SC608:

The asd `balance-lethal` system, which allows for selection of a plasmid without antibiotic resistance genes, (12, 18, 33), was used to express antigens derived from ETEC in Shigella. SC602 was used to create an asd mutant (SC608), which when grown in LB medium has an obligate growth requirement for diaminopimelic acid (DAP) unless complemented with an asd-containing plasmid. The expression plasmids (pCFAI, pCfaAE and pCFAI/LTB), along with an empty vector control (pYA3098), were electroporated into SC608, generating the Shigella vaccine strains SC608(3098), SC608(CFAI), SC608(CfaAE) and SC608(CFAI/LTB).

CfaB expression in these new strains was initially evaluated in whole-cell extracts prepared from log phase cultures. Immunoblotting using CFA/I-specific antiserum generated against intact fmbrae demonstrated that both SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) were expressing nearly equivalent amount of the 15-kDa CfaB protein (FIG. 2A, compare lanes 2 and 3 (see Original Patent)). In order to demonstrate expression of LTB, the same extracts were separated on a 4-12% SDS-polyacrylamide gel and transferred to nitrocellulose. Immunoblotting using antiserum to E. coli type I heat-labile toxin (HLT) detected a .about.12-kDa band corresponding to LTB in the extracts of SC608(CFAI/LTB) only (FIG. 2B, lane 3). No band of this mass was detected in the lanes of the controls strains that lack the LTB ORF (FIG. 1B, lanes 1 and 2 (see Original Patent)). CfaE expression was also evaluated in whole-cell extracts prepared from log phase cultures. Immunoblotting using CfaE-specific antiserum demonstrated that both two individual colonies of SC608(CfaAE) were expressing the CfaE protein (FIG. 2C lanes 2 and 3 (see Original Patent)).

Previous studies using Salmonella as mucosal delivery vector have indicated that antigens located in the periplasm and extracellular fluid are much more immunogenic than antigens retained in the cytoplasm (17). Having modified the CFA/I operon in our expression constructs we sought to examine the subcellular location of CfaB and LTB using a simple colony blot technique (28). The technique allows for the absorption of extracellular and perhaps periplasmic proteins directly to nitrocellulose for detection. As a control all vaccine strains were evaluated for the expression of IpaB, a Shigella protein critical for the invasion phenotype (FIG. 2C (see Original Patent)). All strains had similar levels of IpaB, while only SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) were positive for CfaB (FIG. 2C). Interestingly, SC608(CFAI) had slightly reduced levels of CfaB as compared to SC608(CFAI/LTB) in the colony blot, but very similar levels in whole cell extracts (compare FIGS. 2A and 2C). As expected, only SC608(LTB) was positive for LTB expression (FIG. 2C). Similar experiments where colonies are treated briefly (3 min.) with lysozyme yields the same result with a slightly stronger signal (data not shown). Thus by western and colony immunoblotting we can show expression of CfaB using the modified CFA/I operon lacking the cfaC and cfaE. Furthermore we show that replacement of these genes with LTB allows for the expression of both CfaB and LTB using a single Ptrc promoter. Periplasmic expression of CfaE was demonstrated using identical protocols (data not shown).

Evaluation of HeLa Cell Invasion Using Shigella Hybrid Vaccine Strains:

It is generally accepted that live attenuated strains of Shigella must retain the ability to invade nonphagocytic cells in order for them to generate protective immune responses the host. Thus, Shigella vaccine strains SC608(3098), SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) were evaluated for invasiveness using the gentamicin protection assay in HeLa epithelial cells (10). The assay is based on the limited ability of the antibiotic gentamicin to penetrate eukaryotic cells (31). Shigella that invade and become intracellular are protected from the bactericidal effects of gentamicin, whereas extracellular organisms are killed. Positive and negative control strains for this assay are congo red positive and congo red negative isolates of the wild type S. flexneri strain 2457T. Congo red binding in S. flexneri is associated with virulence plasmid maintenance and thus infectivity (9, 26, 27). Results for the test strains are calculated as a percentage of the 2457T congo red positive isolate. Results from this assay indicate SC608(3098) is slightly more invasive (120%) than 2457T, while SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) are slightly less invasive (96% and 75% respectively) (FIG. 2D). SC608(CfaAE) is also slightly less invasive (65%) (data not shown). Thus demonstrating that expression of ETEC antigens (CfaB CfaE and LTB) in SC608, do not appear to significantly affect HeLa cell invasion.

Evaluation of Immune Responses in Guinea Pigs Immunized with Hybrid Vaccine Strains:

The immunogenicity and protective efficacy of each vaccine strain was tested in guinea pigs. Fifty-six guinea pigs were separated into groups (14 animals per group) and intranasally immunized with 2 doses of SC608(3098), SC608(CFAI), SC608(CFAI/LTB) and normal saline (unimmunized control animals), spaced 14 days apart. One week after the last immunization 6 guinea pigs per group were euthanized and an ELISPOT assay was used to detect local immune response to Shigella and ETEC antigens in the spleen and cervical lymph nodes (CLN). S. flexneri 2a LPS-specific IgG, IgA, and IgM antibody secreting cells (ASCs) were consistently detected and did not vary significantly between vaccine strains (FIG. 3, panel 1 (see Original Patent)). ASCs were also measured using ETEC-derived antigens CFAA and HLT. Using intact CFA/I fimbriae as an antigen, ASC's were detected in both SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) vaccinated animals with IgG being the dominant isotype detected (FIG. 3, panel 2). Interestingly, and for reasons that are not immediately apparent the CFA/I-specific ASCs for SC608(CFAI/LTB) were lower than in SC608(CFAI) immunized animals. As expected HLT-specific ASCs were detected for SC608(CFAI/LTB) only and again IgG dominated the isotype distribution (FIG. 3, panel 3).

Immune responses in serum and mucosal secretions were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) on days 0, 14, 28. Serum IgG and IgA-specific immune responses were measured against S. flexneri 2a LPS, intact CFA/I fimbriae and HLT. Consistent with the ELISPOT assay all groups immunized with SC608 derivatives induced significant serum IgG and IgA LPS responses (FIG. 4A (see Original Patent)). Interestingly, only IgA-specific LPS responses were detected on day 14. Significant serum IgG responses were detected for SC608(CFAI) and SC608(CFAI/LTB) immunized animals, while serum IgA responses were less consistently detected (FIG. 4B). In fact serum IgA responses for HLT were marginal and only detected in some animal and was not considered significantly above background.

Mucosal immune responses were measured for LPS, CFA/I and HLT-specific secretory IgA (sIgA) from ocular washes. ELISA assays were used to quantitate sIgA antibodies with an initial starting dilution of 1:30. All animals immunized with SC608 vector had high levels of sIgA antibodies against S. flexneri LPS even at day 14 (FIG. 4C (see Original Patent)). sIgA antibodies specific for HLT were detected in animals vaccinated with SC608(CFAI/LTB), however no sIgA specific for CFA/I was detected for (SC608CFAI) vaccinated animals.

Challenge Assay:

All vaccinated guinea pigs as well as normal saline controls were challenged three weeks after the final immunization with homologous wild-type Shigella 2457T using the Sereny test. Guinea pigs (eight per group) were inoculated in the conjunctival sac of one eye for sham immunized and both eyes for SC608 immunized guinea pigs. All groups immunized with SC608 derivative were at least partially protected against disease (table 1 (see Original Patent)).

SC608/CFAI demonstrated the highest level of protection with 81.3% full protection and 18.7 partial protection.

Functional Evaluation of Antibodies Produced Against LTB Using CHO Cell Elongation Assay:

E. coli derived type I heat-labile toxin (HLT) is the prototypical .alpha..sub.1.beta..sub.5 enterotoxin that causes elevation of the intracellular levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP), resulting in watery diarrhea which is associated with ETEC infections (reviewed in (19). In vitro, HLT induces elongation of cultured Chinese hamster ovary (CHO-K1; ATCC CCL-61) cells most likely due to changes in the cytoskeleton as a result of high cAMP levels (29). We used this HLT-induced change in cellular morphology to measure the neutralizing properties of the antibodies induced by all SC608 derivatives. The minimal concentration of HLT needed maximal CHO cell elongation was determined to be 25 ng/ml. Serum collected from guinea pigs (eight per group) on day 28 was pooled using equal volumes and tested were for the ability to inhibit HLT elongation. Only serum from animal immunized with SC608(CFAI/LTB) were able to inhibit HLT-mediated elongation (FIG. 5 A-F (see Original Patent)). In addition this affect could be titrated upon dilution of the serum thus demonstrating that antibodies raised against the B subunit of HLT can neutralize the toxic affects of HLT in vitro (FIG. 5G (see Original Patent)).

Claim 1 of 8 Claims

1. Primer pairs characterized as having a length of about 15-100 nucleotides, which pairs permit the PCR amplification of the entire CfaA, CfaB and CfaE open reading frames without the entire CFA/I operon but with the signal sequence of each protein along with restriction sites for insertion into a vector which insertion allows for expression, export and assembly of the protein on the bacterial surface, which pairs contain sequences or sequences strictly complementary thereto and are selected from the group consisting of: a) 5'-GATCAAGCTTCCATGAAAAAGGAGGGATGTA-3' SEQ ID NO 1 and 5'-GATCCCATGGGCATGCATAAATTATTCTATTTACTAAGT-3' SEQ ID NO 2, b) 5'-TACATGCCATGGATAAATTATTCTATTTACT-3' SEQ ID NO 3 and 5'-ATTCTGTTATATATGTCAACCTGCAGGAGGGATGTATAAACATACC-'3 SEQ ID NO 4, c) 5'-GGTATGTTTATACATCCCTCCTGCAGGTTGACATATATAACAGAAT-3' SEQ ID NO 5 and 5'-TTACCCAAGCTTAGACATGCTTTTAAAGCAAA-3' SEQ ID NO 6 and d) 5'-TACATGCCATGGATAAATTATTCTATTTACT-3' SEQ ID NO 7 and 5'-CGTTTATCCTTTATCATTCTCTTAGTATATAGATGAGTAA-3' SEQ ID NO 8, e) 5'-TTACTCATCTATATACTAAGAGAATGATAAAGGATAAACG-3' SEQ ID NO 9 and 5'-TTCAGCCCAAGCTTTAGCGCCAATATGTTGTTAT-3' SEQ ID NO 10.
 

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