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Bovine rotavirus nonstructural protein 4 produced by Lactococcus lactis is antigenic and immunogenic

Enouf, V., Langella, P., Commissaire, J., Cohen, J., Corthier, G.
Applied and environmental microbiology 2001 v.67 no.4 pp. 1423-1428
Rotavirus, genes, gene transfer, gene expression, Lactococcus lactis, protein synthesis, antibody formation, rabbits, immunoblotting, recombinant antigens, viral antigens
Rotavirus nonstructural protein 4 (NSP4) can induce diarrhea in mice. To get insight into the biological effects of NSP4, production of large quantities of this protein is necessary. We first tried to produce the protein in Escherichia coli, but the nsp4 gene proved to be unstable. The capacity of the generally regarded as safe organism Lactococcus lactis to produce NSP4 either intra- or extracellularly was then investigated by using the nisin-controlled expression system. Production of recombinant NSP4 (rNSP4) was observed in L. lactis for both locations. In spite of a very low secretion efficiency, the highest level of production was obtained with the fusion between a lactococcal signal peptide and rNSP4. Cultures of the rNSP4-secreting strain were injected into rabbits, and a specific immune response was elicited. The anti-rNSP4 antibodies produced in these rabbits recognized NSP4 in MA104 cells infected by rotavirus. We showed that L. lactis is able to produce antigenic and immunogenic rNSP4 and thus is a good organism for producing viral antigens.