Characterization of Functional B-Cell Epitopes at the Amino Terminus of Shigella Invasion Plasmid Antigen B (IpaB)

Siqi Li, Xinfeng Han, Ipshita Upadhyay, Weiping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shigella invasion plasmid antigen B (IpaB) plays an important role in causing shigellosis. While IpaB's protein structure, contribution to disease mechanism, and protective immunity against Shigella infection have been well studied, the significance of individual antigenic domains, especially at the N terminus, has not been systematically characterized. In an attempt to identify IpaB protein functional epitopes and to construct an optimized polyvalent multiepitope fusion antigen (MEFA) immunogen for development of a protein-based cross protective Shigella vaccine, in this study, we in silico identified immunodominant B-cell epitopes from the IpaB N terminus, fused each epitope to carrier protein CsaB (the major subunit of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli CS4 adhesin) for epitope fusion proteins, immunized mice with each epitope fusion protein, examined IpaB-specific antibody responses, and assessed antibody functional activity against Shigella bacterial invasion. A total of 10 B-cell continuous epitopes were identified from IpaB N terminus, and after being fused to carrier protein CsaB, each epitope induced anti-IpaB IgG responses in the intramuscularly immunized mice. While in vitro antibody invasion inhibition assays demonstrated that antibodies derived from each identified epitope were functional, epitopes 1 (LAKILASTELGDNTIQAA), 2 (HSTSNILIPELKAPKSL), and 4 (QARQQKNLEFSDKI) induced antibodies to inhibit Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri invasion at levels similar to those of recombinant IpaB protein, suggesting that these three IpaB epitopes can be used potentially as IpaB-representing antigens to induce protective anti-IpaB antibodies and for construction of an epitope-based polyvalent MEFA protein immunogen for Shigella vaccine development. IMPORTANCE Currently, there are no effective measures for control or prevention of Shigella infection, the most common cause of diarrhea in children 3 to 5 years of age in developing countries. Challenges in developing Shigella vaccines include virulence heterogeneity among species and serotypes. To overcome virulence heterogeneity challenge and to develop a protein-based multivalent Shigella vaccine, we targeted a panel of virulence factors, including invasion plasmid antigens, identified functional antigenic domains or epitopes as representative antigens, and applied the novel epitope- and structurebased vaccinology platform multiepitope fusion antigen (MEFA) to integrate functional antigenic domains or epitopes into a backbone immunogen to produce a polyvalent immunogen for cross protective antibodies. Identification of functional IpaB epitopes from this study enhances our understanding of IpaB immunogenicity and allows us to directly utilize IpaB epitopes for construction of a cross protective polyvalent Shigella immunogen and to accelerate development of a protein-based Shigella vaccine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Shigella
  • epitope mapping
  • invasion plasmid antigen B (IpaB)
  • polyvalent immunogen
  • vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of Functional B-Cell Epitopes at the Amino Terminus of Shigella Invasion Plasmid Antigen B (IpaB)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this