Fimbriae mediate the initial adherence of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) to the piglet small intestine and play an important role in development of ETEC-driven postweaning diarrhea (PWD). PWD inflicts huge economic losses on the swine industry each year, making development of alternative treatment and prevention measures for PWD essential. Vaccine candidates that induce antifimbria antibodies that block the initial attachment and colonization of ETEC pathogens with fimbriae are one approach that could help prevent PWD. In this study, we constructed two multiepitope fusion antigens (MEFAs) that carried, expressed, and displayed representative epitopes of F4, F5, F6, F18, and F41 ETEC fimbriae. These MEFAs used either the F4 major subunit FaeG or the F18 adhesive subunit FedF as a backbone. To assess the potential of these MEFAs as antifimbria vaccine candidates that could help prevent PWD, we generated computational models of the MEFAs, constructed them, and then tested their immunogenicity by using them to immunize mice. Computational modeling showed that all relevant epitopes were exposed on the MEFA surface. We found that coadministration of our MEFAs in mice successfully induced five fimbria-specific antibodies in accordance with the epitopes included in the MEFA constructs. Furthermore, the induced antibodies can significantly inhibit the ability of ETEC strains that express F4, F5, F6, F18, and F41 fimbriae to adhere to piglet small intestinal IPEC-1 and IPEC-J2 cells. Our findings indicate that the antifimbria antibodies induced by our FaeG-Fim41a-FanC-FasA and FedF-FasAFim41a- FanC fimbria MEFAs blocked adherence of five ETEC fimbriae, suggesting these multivalent fimbria MEFAs may be useful for developing broadly protective antifimbria vaccines against PWD caused by ETEC infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology