Toxicity and Immunogenicity of Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Heat-Labile and Heat-Stable Toxoid Fusion 3xSTaA14Q-LTS63K/R192G/L211A in a Murine Model

Chengxian Zhang, David E. Knudsen, Mei Liu, Donald C. Robertson, Weiping Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death to young children. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are the most common bacteria causing diarrhea. Adhesins and enterotoxins are the virulence determinants in ETEC diarrhea. Adhesins mediate bacterial attachment and colonization, and enterotoxins including heat-labile (LT) and heat-stable type Ib toxin (STa) disrupt fluid homeostasis in host cells that leads to fluid hyper-secretion and diarrhea. Thus, adhesins and enterotoxins have been primarily targeted in ETEC vaccine development. A recent study reported toxoid fusions with STa toxoid (STaP13F) fused at the N- or C-terminus, or inside the A subunit of LTR192G elicited neutralizing antitoxin antibodies, and suggested application of toxoid fusions in ETEC vaccine development (Liu et al., Infect. Immun. 79:4002-4009, 2011). In this study, we generated a different STa toxoid (STaA14Q) and a triple-mutant LT toxoid (LTS63K/R192G/L211A, tmLT), constructed a toxoid fusion (3xSTaA14Q-tmLT) that carried 3 copies of STaA14Q for further facilitation of anti-STa immunogenicity, and assessed antigen safety and immunogenicity in a murine model to explore its potential for ETEC vaccine development. Mice immunized with this fusion antigen showed no adverse effects, and developed antitoxin antibodies particularly through the IP route. Anti-LT antibodies were detected and were shown neutralizing against CT in vitro. Anti-STa antibodies were also detected in the immunized mice, and serum from the IP immunized mice neutralized STa toxin in vitro. Data from this study indicated that toxoid fusion 3xSTaA14Q-tmLT is safe and can induce neutralizing antitoxin antibodies, and provided helpful information for vaccine development against ETEC diarrhea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere77386
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 11 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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