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A plant-based oral vaccine to protect against systemic intoxication by Shiga toxin type 2
- Wen, S.X., Teel, L.D., Judge, N.A., O'Brien, A.D.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2006 v.103 no.18 pp. 7082-7087
- Nicotiana tabacum, transgenic plants, gene transfer, genetic transformation, Agrobacterium tumefaciens, Shiga-like toxin 2, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, gene expression, transgenes, toxoids, recombinant vaccines, oral vaccination, antibody formation, immunoglobulin A, immunoglobulin G, immunity, Escherichia infections, mice, biopharmaceuticals
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome, the leading cause of kidney failure in children, often follows infection with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and is mediated by the Shiga type toxins, particularly type 2 (Stx2), produced by such strains. The challenge in protecting against this life-threatening syndrome is to stimulate an immune response at the site of infection while also protecting against Shiga intoxication at distal sites such as the kidney. As one approach to meeting this challenge, we sought to develop and characterize a prototypic orally delivered, plant-based vaccine against Stx2, an AB5 toxin. First, we genetically inactivated the Stx2 active A subunit gene and then optimized both subunit genes for expression in plants. The toxoid genes were then transformed into the Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) cell line NT-1 by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Toxoid expression was detected in NT-1 cell extracts, and the assembly of the holotoxoid was confirmed. Finally, mice were immunized by feeding with the toxoid-expressing NT-1 cells or by parenteral immunization followed by oral vaccination (prime-boost strategy). The immunized mice produced Stx2-specific mucosal IgA and Stx2-neutralizing serum IgG. The protective efficacy of these responses was assessed by challenging the immunized mice with E. coli O91:H21 strain B2F1, an isolate that produces an activatable variant of Stx2 (Stx2d) and is lethal to mice. The oral immunization fully protected mice from the challenge. Results of this study demonstrated that a plant-based oral vaccine can confer protection against lethal systemic intoxication.