Cloning and characterization of Edwardsiella ictaluri proteins expressed and recognized by the channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus immune response during infection

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An Edwardsiella ictaluri expression library was screened for clones expressing antigenic E. ictaluri proteins using anti-E. ictaluri serum, which resulted in the isolation of 32 clones. The clones were partially characterized and 4 were selected for complete analysis. Sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), 2-dimensional PAGE, Western blotting, and DNA sequencing were used to analyze expressed antigenic proteins and encoded genes. Sequence analysis identified 4 putative open reading frames (ORFs) in the insert of Clone 4d6, which corresponded to antigenic acidic proteins of 55, 20 and 18 kDa expressed by both the clone and E. ictaluri cells. The predicted gene products of these ORFs were similar to several products of the imp locus of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii. The imp locus of R. leguminosarum contains 14 genes that encode proteins involved in a putative temperature-dependent protein secretion system. In addition there was significant amino acid identity for a variety of hypothetical proteins from R. solanacearum, Ps. aeruginosa, A. tumefaciens, Y. pestis, and Salmonella typhimurium. Overlapping inserts of Clones 1.4, 5d2, and 5d3 encoded ORFs similar to Escherichia coli partial genes serA and pgk, and complete genes rpiA, iciA, yggE, yggB and fda. These genes encode D-3-phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase (serA), ribose 5-phosphate isomerase (rpiA), a specific inhibitor of chromosomal initiation of replication (iciA), a hypothetical protein (yggE), a protein involved in responses to osmotic stress (yggB), fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (fda), and phosphoglycerate kinase (pgk). Cloned antigenic E. ictaluri proteins of 33, 27, 35 and 45 kDa appeared to be products of the ORFs similar to yggE, rpiA, iciA, and fda respectively. All the cloned antigenic proteins were recognized by antiserum from catfish that had recovered from enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), indicating that these antigens are expressed during the infectious process. The cloned antigenic proteins were subsequently evaluated as subunit vaccines for protection against wild-type E. ictaluri. All vaccine treatments were protective against E. ictaluri in catfish, but results were inconclusive due to high levels of cross-reactive protection afforded by the E. coli host strain of the cloning vector.

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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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