Anti-adhesin based passive immunoprophlactic
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The invention relates to an immunogenic composition and method of the immunogenic composition for the production and administration of a passive immunoprophylactic against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. The immunoprophylactic is made collecting anti-adhesin in the colostrum or milk of vaccinated domesticated animals such as cows. The immunoprophylactic is administered either as a dietary supplement or in capsular or tablet form.

Savarino, Stephen J. (Kensington, MD, US)
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A61K39/40; A61K35/20
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What is claimed is:

1. A pharmaceutical composition, wherein said composition is composed of colostrums or milk immunoglobulin against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli adhesin molecules.

2. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 1, wherein said adhesin molecules are derived from Class 5 fimbriae.

3. The pharmaceutical composition of claim 1, wherein the said adhesin molecule is one or more fimbrial minor subunits selected from the group consisting of CfaE, CsfD, CsuD, CooD, CosD, CsdD, CsbD and CotD.

4. A method of producing the anti-enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli composition of claim 1 comprising the steps: a. administering to a milk producing domesticated animal an immunogen composed of one or more Class five Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesins or fragments thereof; b. collecting immunoglobulin containing colostrum or milk from said domesticated animal.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the concentration of anti-adhesin immunoglobulin in said collected colostrum or milk is adjusted to 0.1 g IgG per dose to 20.0 g of IgG per dose of said passive prophylactic.

6. The method of claim 4, wherein said domesticated animal is a cow or goat.

7. The method of claim 4, wherein said adhesin is selected from the group consisting of CfaE, CsfD, CsuD, CooD, CosD, CsdD, CsbD and CotD.

8. The method of claim 4, wherein said immunogen also comprises one or more Escherichia coli major fimbrial subunit is selected from the group consisting of CfaB, CsfA, CsuA1, CsuA2, CooA, CosA, CsbA, CsdA and CotB.

9. The method of claim 4, wherein said immunogen is an Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesin domain and polyhistidine tail fusion polypeptide composed of the amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 35, SEQ ID No. 36 and SEQ ID No. 37.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein said Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesin is linked at its C-terminus to a linker which is operatively linked at its C-terminus to said Escherichia coli major fimbrial subunit.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein said Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesin is a monomer or polymer of adhesin polypeptides.

12. The method of claim 10, wherein said linker is composed of the amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 10, 12 and 13.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein said fimbrial adhesin is selected from the group consisting of CfaE, CsfD, CsuD, CooD, CosD, CsdD, CsbD and CotD.

14. The method of claim 10, wherein said major fimbrial subunit is selected from the group consisting of CfaB, CsfA, CsuA1, CsuA2, CooA, CosA, CsbA, CsdA and CotB.

15. The method of claim 10, wherein said immunogen contains a polyhistidine tail linked at the C-terminus of said Escherichia coli major fimbrial subunit.

16. The method of claim 13, wherein said fimbrial adhesin is the amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 1, SEQ ID No. 22, SEQ ID No. 27, SEQ ID No.28, SEQ ID No.29, SEQ ID No.30, SEQ ID No.31, SEQ ID No.32 or fragments thereof.

17. The method of claim 13, wherein said CfaE is composed of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No.11 encoded by all or a portion of the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 18 or fragment thereof.

18. The method of claim 13, wherein said CsbD is composed of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No.22 encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No.19 or fragment thereof.

19. The method of claim 13, wherein said CotD is composed of the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID No.32 or fragment thereof.

20. The method of claim 13, wherein said Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesin is composed of amino acids 58-185 of the sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 11, SEQ ID No.22, SEQ ID No.27, SEQ ID No.28, SEQ ID No.29, SEQ ID No.30, SEQ ID No.31, SEQ ID No.32.

21. The method of claim 13, wherein said Escherichia coli fimbrial adhesin is composed of amino acids 14-205 of the sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 11, SEQ ID No.22, SEQ ID No.27, SEQ ID No.28, SEQ ID No.29, SEQ ID No.30, SEQ ID No.31, SEQ ID No.32.

22. The method of claim 14, wherein said major fimbrial subunit is the amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No.1, SEQ ID No.2, SEQ ID No.3, SEQ ID No.4, SEQ ID No.5, SEQ ID No.6, SEQ ID No.7, SEQ ID No.8, and SEQ ID No.9.

23. The method of claim 15, wherein said immunogen is a fusion polypeptide containing a polyhistidine tail composed of the amino acid sequence selected from the group consisting of SEQ ID No. 23 encoded by SEQ ID No. 24, SEQ ID No. 25 encoded by SEQ ID No.26 and SEQ ID No.34.

24. The method of claim 17, wherein said major fimbrial subunit is CfaB with a polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID No. 1 encoded by nucleotide sequence SEQ ID No. 20.

25. The method of claim 18, wherein said major fimbrial subunit is CsbA with a polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID No. 7 encoded by nucleotide sequence SEQ ID No. 21.

26. The method of claim 19, wherein said major fimbrial subunit is CotA with a polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID. No. 9.

27. A method of conferring passive immunity to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli comprising: a. administering to a milk producing animal an immunogen composed of native or recombinant Escherichia coli adhesin so as to induce adhesin specific antibody in the colostrums or milk of said milk producing animals; b. collecting said colostrum or milk product containing said adhesin specific antibody; c. administering a dose of said bovine milk anti-adhesin immunoglobulin by ingestion wherein said dose is 0.1 g IgG per dose to 20.0 g of IgG per dose.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein said dose is administered by mixing said colostrum or milk anti-adhesin immunoglobulin in a beverage or food.

29. The method of claim 27, wherein said dose is administered in capsule or tablet form.



This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/683,787 filed May 24, 2005.


This inventive subject matter relates to a pharmaceutical useful in conferring passive protection against diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.


I hereby state that the information recorded in computer readable form is identical to the written sequence listing.


Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are a principal cause of diarrhea in young children in resource-limited countries and also travelers to these areas (1, 2). ETEC produce disease by adherence to small intestinal epithelial cells and expression of a heat-labile (LT) and/or heat-stable (ST) enterotoxin (3). ETEC typically attach to host cells via filamentous bacterial surface structures known as colonization factors (CFs). More than 20 different CFs have been described, a minority of which have been unequivocally incriminated in pathogenesis (4).

Firm evidence for a pathogenic role exists for colonization factor antigen I (CFA/I), the first human-specific ETEC CF to be described. CFA/I is the archetype of a family of eight ETEC fimbriae that share genetic and biochemical features (5, 4, 6, 7). This family includes coli surface antigen 1 (CS 1), CS2, CS4, CS 14, CS17, CS19 and putative colonization factor O71 (PCFO71). The complete DNA sequences of the gene clusters encoding CFA/I, CS1 and CS2 have been published (8, 9, 10, 11, 12). The genes for the major subunit of two of the other related fimbriae have been reported (13, 6). The four-gene bioassembly operons of CFA/I, CS1, and CS2 are similarly organized, encoding (in order) a periplasmic chaperone, major fimbrial subunit, outer membrane usher protein, and minor fimbrial subunit. CFA/I assembly takes place through the alternate chaperone pathway, distinct from the classic chaperone-usher pathway of type I fimbrial formation and that of other filamentous structures such as type IV pili (14, 15). Based on the primary sequence of the major fimbrial subunit, CFA/I and related fimbriae have been grouped as class 5 fimbriae (16).

Studies of CS1 have yielded details on the composition and functional features of Class 5 fimbriae (17). The CS1 fimbrial stalk consists of repeating CooA major subunits. The CooD minor subunit is allegedly localized to the fimbrial tip, comprises an extremely small proportion of the fimbrial mass, and is required for initiation of fimbrial formation (18). Contrary to earlier evidence suggesting that the major subunit mediates binding (19), recent findings have implicated the minor subunit as the adhesin and identified specific amino acid residues required for in vitro adhesion of CS1 and CFA/I fimbriae (20). The inferred primary amino acid structure of those major subunits that have been sequenced share extensive similarity. Serologic cross-reactivity of native fimbriae is, however, limited, and the pattern of cross-reactivity correlates with phylogenetically defined subtaxons of the major subunits (13).

Implication of the minor subunits of Class 5 fimbriae as the actual adhesins entreats scrutiny regarding the degree of their conservation relative to that of the major subunits. It was speculated that CooD and its homologs retained greater similarity due to functional constraints imposed by ligand binding requirements and/or its immunorecessiveness, itself attributable to the extremely large ratio of major to minor subunits in terms of fimbrial composition. Studies were conducted to examine the evolutionary relationships of the minor and major subunits of Class 5 ETEC fimbriae as well as the two assembly proteins (21). It was demonstrated that evolutionary distinctions exist between the Class 5 major and minor fimbrial subunits and that the minor subunits function as adhesins. These findings provide practical implications for vaccine-related research.

The nucleotide sequence of the gene clusters that encode CS4, CS 14, CS17, CS19 and PCFO71 was determined from wild type diarrhea-associated isolates of ETEC that tested positive for each respective fimbria by monoclonal antibody-based detection (21). The major subunit alleles of the newly sequenced CS4, CS14, CS17 and CS19 gene clusters each showed 99-100% nucleotide sequence identity with corresponding gene sequence(s) previously deposited in GenBank, with no more than four nucleotide differences per allele. Each locus had four open reading frames that encoded proteins with homology to the CFA/I class chaperones, major subunits, ushers and minor subunits. As previously reported (13), the one exception was for the CS14 gene cluster, which contained two tandem open reading frames downstream of the chaperone gene. Their predicted protein sequences share 94% amino acid identity with one another and are both homologous to other Class 5 fimbriae major subunits.

Examination of the inferred amino acid sequences of all the protein homologs involved in Class 5 fimbrial biogenesis reveals many basic similarities. Across genera, each set of homologs generally share similar physicochemical properties in terms of polypeptide length, mass, and theoretical isoelectric point. All of the involved proteins contain an amino-terminal signal peptide that facilitates translocation to the periplasm via the type II secretion pathway. None of the major subunit proteins contain any cysteine residues, while the number and location of six cysteine residues are conserved for all of the minor subunits except that of the Y. pestis homolog 3802, which contains only four of these six residues.

Type 1 and P fimbriae have been useful models in elucidating the genetic and structural details of fimbriae assembled by the classical chaperone-usher pathway (23, 24, 25). An outcome of this work has been development of the principle of donor strand complementation, a process in which fimbrial subunits non-covalently interlock with adjoining subunits by iterative intersubunit sharing of a critical, missing β-strand (22, 26). Evidence has implicated this same mechanism in the folding and quaternary conformational integrity of Haemophilus influenzae hemagglutinating pili (28), and Yersinia pestis capsular protein, a non-fimbrial protein polymer (29). Both of these structures are distant Class I relatives of Type 1 and P fimbriae that are assembled by the classical chaperone-usher pathway. From an evolutionary perspective, this suggests that the mechanism of donor strand complementation arose in a primordial fimbrial system from which existing fimbriae of this Class have derived. While donor strand complementation represents a clever biologic solution to the problem of protein folding for noncovalently linked, polymeric surface proteins, its exploitation by adhesive fimbriae other than those of the classical usher-chaperone pathway has not been demonstrated.

Common to fimbriae assembled by the alternate chaperone pathway and the classical chaperone-usher pathway are the requirement for a periplasmic chaperone to preclude subunit misfolding and an usher protein that choreographs polymerization at the outer membrane. That the fimbrial assembly and structural components of these distinct pathways share no sequence similarity indicates that they have arisen through convergent evolutionary paths. Nevertheless, computational analyses of the CFA/I structural subunits suggests the possibility that donor strand complementation may also govern chaperone-subunit and subunit-subunit interaction.

The eight ETEC Class 5 fimbriae clustered into three subclasses of three (CFA/I, CS4, and CS14), four (CS1, PCFO71, CS17 and CS19), and one (CS2) member(s) (referred to as subclasses 5a, 5b, and 5c, respectively) (21). Previous reports demonstrated that ETEC bearing CFA/I, CS2, CS4, CS14 and CS19 manifest adherence to cultured Caco-2 cells (6, 22). However, conflicting data have been published regarding which of the component subunits of CFA/I and CS1 mediate adherence (19, 20).

This question of which fimbrial components is responsible for mediating adherence was approached by assessing the adherence-inhibition activity of antibodies to intact CFA/I fimbriae, CfaB (major subunit), and to non-overlapping amino-terminal (residues 23-211) and carboxy-terminal (residues 212-360) halves of CfaE (minor subunit) in two different in vitro adherence models (21). It was demonstrated that the most important domain for CFA/I adherence resides in the amino-terminal half of the adhesin CfaE (21).

The studies briefly described above provide evidence that the minor subunits of CFA/I and other Class 5 fimbriae are the receptor binding moiety (20, 21). Consistent with these observations, because of the low levels of sequence divergence of the minor subunits observed within fimbrial subclasses 5a and 5b (20), the evolutionary relationships correlated with cross-reactivity of antibodies against the amino-terminal half of minor subunits representing each of these two subclasses (21). These studies strongly suggest that the minor subunits of class 5 fimbriae are much more effective in inducing antiadhesive immunity and thus an important immunogen for inducing protective antibody (21).

Anti-diarrheal vaccines would be a preferable method of conferring protection against diarrheal disease including ETEC caused diarrhea. However, because of the complexities of constructing and licensing of effective vaccines other methods to confer interim protection have been sought. A measure shown to hold considerable promise in the prevention of diarrhea is passive, oral administration of immunoglobulins against diarrhea causing enteropathogens. Products with activity against ETEC, Shigella, and rotavirus have been shown to prevent diarrhea in controlled studies with anti-cryptosporidial bovine milk immunoglobulins (BIgG) preparations (30-33). Furthermore, favorable encouraging results have been observed using this approach with anti-cryptosporidial BIgG preparations (34, 35).

Accordingly, an object of this invention is an immunoglobulin supplement capable of providing prophylactic protection against ETEC infection. Because the minor subunit (adhesin) is the fimbrial component directly responsible for adherence, administration of anti-adhesin antibodies will likely confer significantly greater protection than antibodies raised against intact fimbriae or intact bacteria. Furthermore, another object of the invention is a method for the production of passive prophylactic formulation against ETEC, containing anti-adhesin immunoglobulin. The use of recombinant minor fimbrial subunit polypeptides in the immunoglobulin production method will provide enhanced antibody yields and standardization over the use of intact fimbriae or whole cells.


Vaccines are the preferred method for conferring anti-diarrhea protection in potentially exposed populations. However, there are no currently licensed effective vaccines against ETEC. Therefore, an interim protective measure, until vaccines can be developed, is the administration of oral passive protection in the form of anti-adhesin immunoglobulin supplements derived from bovine, or other milk producing animal, colostrum or milk.

An object of the invention is a anti-Escherichia coli antibody prophylactic formulation that is specific to class 5 enterotoxigenic E. coli fimbriae adhesin.

Another object of the invention is a method for conferring passive immunity using an anti-E. coli antibody prophylactic formulation that is specific to class five Escherichia coli fimbriae adhesin including CfaE and CsbD.

An additional object of the invention is a method of conferring passive immunity to enterotoxigenic E. coli by administering a food supplement containing anti-E. coli antibody specific to Class 5 fimbriae adhesins.

A still further object of the invention is a method of producing an anti-E. coli adhesin milk antibody by administering recombinant adhesin polypeptides to domestic animals such as cows.


FIG. 1. A highly conserved β-strand motif in the major structural subunits of Class 5 fimbriae. This is a multiple alignment of the amino-termini of the mature form of the major subunits, with consensus sequence shown below. This span is predicted to form an interrupted β-strand motif spanning residues 5-19 (demarcated by yellow arrows below consensus). Shading of conserved residues indicates class as follows: blue, hydrophobic; red, negatively charged residues; turquoise, positively charged residues; and green, proline. Also shown are the sequence identification numbers (SEQ ID No.) for the associated polypeptides. Abbrevations: Bcep, Burkholderia cepacia; Styp, Salmonella typhi. U, hydrophobic residue; x, any residue; Z, E or Q.

FIG. 2. Panel A, Schematic diagram showing the domains of independent CfaE variant constructs with C-terminal extensions comprising the N-terminal β-strand span of CfaB varying in length from 10 to 19 residues. Each construct contains a short flexible linker peptide (DNKQ) intercalated between the C-terminus of the native CfaE sequence and the donor β-strand. The vertical arrow identifies the donor strand valine that was modified to either a proline (V7P) to disrupt the secondary β-strand motif. Panel B, Western blot analysis of periplasmic concentrates from the series of strains engineered to express CfaE and the variants complemented in cis with varying lengths of the amino-terminal span of mature CfaB. The primary antibody preparations used were polyclonal rabbit antibody against CfaE. Lanes correspond to preparations from the following constructs: Lane 1, dscloCfaE; 2, dsc11CfaE; 3, dsc12CfaE; 4, dsc13CfaE; 5, dsc13CfaE[V7P]; 6, dsc14CfaE; 7, dsc16CfaE; 8, dsc19CfaE; and 9, CfaE. Molecular weight markers (in kD) are shown to the left. Panel C, schematic representation of the engineered components of dscl 9CfaE(His)6, containing the native CfaE sequence (including its Sec-dependent N-terminal signal sequence), with an extension at its C-terminus consisting of a short linker sequence (i.e., DNKQ), the 19 residue donor strand from the N-terminus of mature CfaB, and a terminal hexahistidine affinity tag.

FIG. 3. Reactivity of products with a panel of CFA/I-related antigens by ELISA.

FIG. 4. In vitro functional activity of antibodies to BIgG anti-CfaE.

FIG. 5. Reactivity of products with a panel of CS17-related antigens by ELISA.

FIG. 6. In vitro functional activity of BIgG anti-CsbD.


Vaccines are the preferred prophylactic measure for long-term protection against ETEC caused diarrhea. However, development of effective vaccines is typically difficult and time-intensive. Furthermore, even after an effective ETEC vaccine is developed, protection against ETEC caused disease is not conferred until an adequate dose regimen is completed. Therefore, there is a need for effective, safe and easy to take passive prophylactic measures. A particularly promising approach, for example, is the use of bovine milk immunoglobulins (BIgG) preparations (30-33).

Computational analyses of the CFA/I structural subunits suggest that donor strand complementation governs chaperone-subunit and subunit-subunit interaction. The major subunits of Class 5 fimbriae share a highly conserved amino-terminal span predicted to form a β strand (FIG. 1). Based on its predicted structure and location, the β-strand-like structure is donated to neighboring major subunit (e.g. CfaB) along the alpha-helical stalk and to an adhesin (e.g. CfaE) at the fimbrial tip. The highly conserved nature of the amino-terminal β strand of CfaB and its homologs, together with the precedent that the amino-terminus of type 1 fimbrial subunits functions as the exchanged donor strand in filament assembly suggested this as a good candidate for the donor β strand that noncovalently interlocks CFA/I subunits.

ETEC fimbriae are classified based on genetic and structural analysis and many fimbriae associated with disease fall into the Class 5 fimbrial grouping, which includes CFA/I, CS17 and CS2. Class 5 fimbriae adhesins each share significant characteristics that clearly differentiate these members as belonging to a recognizable genus. Although Class 5 fimbriae are distinguishable serologically, they share similar architecture in that they are composed of a major stalk forming subunit (e.g., CfaB of CFA/I) and a minor tip-localized subunit (e.g., CfaE of CFA/I) that we have found serves as the intestinal adhesin. A comparison of amino acid sequences of the major and minor subunits (i.e., fimbrial adhesins) clearly show a strong amino acid sequence relatedness as well as sequence homology, as illustrated in Table 1, for the major subunits and Table 2 for adhesin molecules. In Table 1 and 2 the shaded areas show similarity of residues and the unshaded areas show residue identity. As illustrated in Table 2, the fimbrial adhesins display, as well as the major subunits, a high level of residue identity, ranging from 47% to 98%. Additionally, fimbrial adhesins have significant amino acid sequence conservation, including a conserved structural motif in the carboxy-terminal domain of both the major and minor subunits (i.e., the beta-zipper motif). This structure indicates that the C-terminal domain of these proteins are involved in subunit-subunit interaction.


3 letter codes: CFA/I, Cfa; CS1, Coo; CS2, Cot; CS4, Csf; CS14, Csu; CS17, Csb; CS19, Csd; PCFO71, Cos.


3 letter codes: CFA/I, Cfa; CS1, Coo; CS2, Cot; CS4, Csf; CS14, Csu; CS17, Csb; CS19, Csd; PCFO71, Cos.

Toward the development of an ETEC antigen, we constructed a conformationally-stable construct wherein an amino-terminal donor β-strand of CfaB provides an in cis carboxy-terminal extension of CfaE to confer conformational stability and protease resistance to this molecule, forming a soluble monomer capable of binding human erythrocytes. In order to identify common structural motifs, multiple alignments of the amino acid sequences of the eight homologs of the major and minor subunits of Class 5 ETEC fimbriae were generated. Secondary structure prediction algorithms indicated that both subunits form an amphipathic structure rich in β-strands distributed along their length. Twenty six percent of the consensus minor subunit sequence is predicted to fold into a β-conformation, comprising 17 interspersed β strands, which might be expected to form a hydrophobic core. Sakellaris et al have previously suggested that an amino acid span forms a β-zipper motif, analogous to that of class I fimbrial subunits, that plays a role in fimbrial subunit-chaperone interaction (27).

The following example discloses the production of a CfaE immunogen using a donor strand from CfaB. However, one of skill in the art, following this disclosure, would be able to engineer constructs to serve as an immunogen using donor strands from other class 5 major subunits in conjunction with other adhesin constructs, such as CsbD, CsfD, CsuD, CooD, CosD, CsdD, and CotD. The major Class 5 fimbrial subunits are listed in Table 3 along with the corresponding SEQ ID No. corresponding to the subunit's amino acid sequence donor strand. Table 4 lists the amino acid sequence of the Class 5 adhesin and their respective SEQ ID No.

SEQ ID No. of Donor Strand
Major SubunitAmino Acid Sequence

Minor SubunitSEQ ID. No. of Amino Acid Sequence

An inventive aspect of this invention is a method for the production of a passive prophylactic against Class 5 fimbrial adhesin of ETEC bacteria. Examples using specific Class 5 fimbrial adhesins are provided in order to illustrate the invention. However, other Class 5 fimbrial adhesins, and their associated major subunits can also be utilized by one of skill in the art


Production of anti-CfaE Bovine Immunoglobulin

As mentioned above, the highly conserved nature of the amino-terminal β strand of CfaB and its homologs, together with other structure/function studies in type 1 fimbrial subunits, suggested this structure as a good candidate for the donor β strand that interlocks CFA/I subunits. In order to test this hypothesis with respect to the minoradhesive subunit, a plasmid was engineered to express a CfaE variant containing a C-terminal extension consisting of a flexible hairpin linker (DNKQ, SEQ ID No. 10) followed by an amino acid sequence of CfaB (FIG. 2). It was found that a CfaB donor strand length of at least 12 to as many as 19 amino acids was necessary to obtain a measurable recovery of CfaE. In studies using constructs containing a 12 to 19 amino acid donor strand, where mutations were introduced to break the β strand, it was demonstrated that the β strand is important to the observed stability achieved by the C-terminal amino acid extension. It was further determined that the C-terminal β strand contributed by CfaB in cis precludes chaperone (e.g. CfaA)-adhesin complex formation.

In this example, a recombinant CfaE antigen was constructed, as shown in FIG. 2C, by fusing a Cfa E polypeptide sequence (SEQ ID No. 11), encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 18 to the N-terminal amino acid sequence of a linker polypeptide (SEQ ID No. 10) which is in-turn linked at its C-terminus to a 19 amino acid CfaB donor strand corresponding to amino acids 1-19 of SEQ ID No. 1. Although, SEQ ID No. 10 was utilized for a linker, other amino acid sequences have been found acceptable, including SEQ ID No. 12 and 13. For this example, the CfaB major subunit donor strand used is shown in SEQ ID No. 1 which is encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 20. However, based on the observation that the a donor strand of 12 to 19 amino acids is suitable for significant CfaE recovery, a recombinant antigen containing 12 to 19 amino acids can be utilized. Similarly, recombinant peptides can be constructed containing all or a portion of SEQ ID No. 11 as long as the amino acid sequence contains anti-CfaE B-cell epitopes.

The CfaE construct containing the 19 amino acid major subunit donor strand was constructed by first inserting cfaE into plasmid vectors by in vitro recombination using the Gateway® system (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.). Primers with the following sequences were used for the initial cloning into pDONR20™: dsc-CfaE 13-1 (forward), 5′-TCG ACA ATA AAC AAG TAG AGA AAA ATA TTA CTG TAA CAG CTA GTG TTG ATC CTT AGC-3′ (SEQ ID No. 14); and dsc-CfaE 13-2 (reverse), 5′-TCG AGC TAA GGA TCA ACA CTA GCT GTT ACA GTA ATA TTT TTC TCT ACT TGT TTA TTG-3′ (SEQ ID No 15). The PCR products flanked by attB recombination sites were cloned into the donor vector pDONR201 (Gateway® Technology, Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.), using the Gateway BP® reaction to generate the entry vector pRA13.3. In the Gateway LR® reaction the gene sequence was further subcloned from pRA13.3 into the modified expression vector pDEST14-Knr (vector for native expression from a T7 promoter) to generate the plasmid pRA14.2. The pDEST14-Knr vector was constructed by modifying pDEST14® (Gateway® Technology, Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.) by replacement of ampicillin with kanamycin resistance. The presence of the correct cfaE was confirmed by sequence analysis. E. coli strain BL21 SI (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.) was used for the expression of the pRA14.1 and related CfaE donor strand complemented constructs.

The above procedure was utilized to construct a CfaE/donor strand recombinant construct. However, constructs containing other adhesin molecules can also be constructed, including the minor subunits: CsfD, CsuD, CooD, CosD, CsdD, CsbD and CotD, in conjunction with the appropriate donor strand from the major subunits as listed in Table 1. For example, a recombinant CsbD construct was designed comprising a CsbD polypeptide sequence comprising all or a portion of SEQ ID No. 22 fused at the C-terminal end, via a linker polypeptide of SEQ ID No 10, to a CsbA major subunit donor strand of a polypeptide sequence SEQ ID No. 6 that is encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 21.

Development of pET/Adhesin Construct for Large Scale Antigen Production

The DNA construct encoding dsclgCfaE was then excised from pDEST14® vector and inserted into pET24(a)™ in order to encode a variant CfaE construct that incorporates a carboxy-terminal polyhistine tail after the CfaB donor strand. This construct, with a polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID No 23 is designated dsc19CfaE(His)6 and is encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 24.

Construction of the dsc19cfaE insert was carried out by amplifying the pDEST 14 vector by polymerase chain reaction using a NdeI containing forward primer and an XhoI containing reverse primer, SEQ ID No 16 and 17, respectively. The dsc19cfaE coding region was directionally ligated into an NdeI/XhoI restricted pET24a plasmid. The insert containing pET24a™ plasmid was used to transform NovaBlue-3™ BL21 (EMD Biosciences, Novagen® Brand, Madison, Wis.) bacteria. Transformed colonies were then selected and re-cultured in order to expand the plasmid containing bacteria. Plasmid inserts from selected colonies were then sequenced. These plasmids were then re-inserted into BL21 (DE3) (EMD Biosciences, Novagen® Brand, Madison, Wis.) competent cells and the DNA insert sequence confirmed.

Similar to the method used to construct dsc19CfaE(His)6, a DNA construct encoding dsc19CsbD was also made by insertion of CsbD and a CsbA donor strain sequence into pET24a™. This construct has a polypeptide sequence of SEQ ID No. 25 and is encoded by the nucleotide sequence of SEQ ID No. 26. The donor strand sequence from CsbA used in designing the construct is disclosed as SEQ ID No. 6. Like the CfaE construct, the 19 amino acid sequence from CsbA corresponding to amino acids 1-19 of SEQ ID No. 6 was used. However donor strand sequences ranging from the 12 to 19 amino acids can be used.

Production of dsc19CfaE(His)6.

A number of growth conditions and media can be utilized for large-scale production of the dsc19CfaE(His)6, or other adhesin/donor strand construct. For example initiation of culture can be conducted using 1.0 μM to 1.0 mM isopropyl-β-D-thiogalactopyranosid (IPTG) at an induction temperature of 320 C to 25° C. for 1 to 4 hours. In this example, LB media was utilized with a 1.0 μM IPTG concentration at 32° C. for 3 hours. However, APS™ and other media formulations can also be used. The dsc19CfaE(His)6, or other recombinant adhesin construct, is purified on a Ni column. Yield of construct is at least 0.45 to 0.9 mg of protein/L of culture.

Manufacture of BIgG

Antibody to recombinant antigen is produced in the colostrum or milk of domesticated cattle, including Holsteins. A total of three intramuscular vaccinations each in a volume of two ml containing 500 μg of antigen each is administered at a single site. Vaccinations are given approximately three weeks apart with the final vaccination 1 to 2 weeks prior to calving. At calving the first four milkings are collected, the volume estimated and a sample tested for anti-adhesin antibody by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). FIG. 3 shows the reactivity of anti-CFA/I BIgG and anti-CfaE BIgG products. CFA/I BIgG gives a higher level of reactivity to CFA/I antigen than anti-CfaE by ELISA (FIG. 3A). This is due to the fact that CFA/I antigen used to coat the ELISA plate is made of primarily the CfaB major subunit and the CfaE minor subunit is present as a minor component only. As expected, the anti-CfaE BIgG product has a much stronger reaction with CfaE compared to either AEMI or anti-CFA/I BIgG (FIG. 3B). This confirms that immunization of cows with the CfaE antigen greatly enhances the generation of antibodies to adhesin, CfaE.

Further processing of the collected product can be undertaken. For example, frozen milk is fractionated to remove caseins through a cheese-making step. The whey fraction, containing most immunoglobulins is then drained from the cheese curd and pasteurized under standard dairy conditions. The immunoglobulin-enriched whey fraction is then concentrated and residual milk fat is removed by centrifugation at room temperature. Subsequently, phospholipid and non-immunoglobulin proteins can be removed (36). The final product is then concentrated to 15-20% solids and salts removed by continuous diafiltration against three buffer changes. The final product is then tested for by ELISA.

In addition to the characterization of antibody reactivity of BIgG to ETEC antigens, the functional activity of the antibodies was evaluated. As the receptor(s) for CFA/I is not defined, a surrogate assay for adhesion of ETEC to target cells in vitro was used. ETEC expressing certain fimbriae (including CFA/I) adhere to and agglutinate human and/or bovine erythrocytes in a mannose-resistant hemagglutination assay (MRHA). This is used as a surrogate marker for adhesion of ETEC whole cells, fimbriae or purified minor subunits of fimbriae to target eukaryotic epithelial cells. This phenomenon, described as hemagglutination inhibition (HAI), is an indicator of antibodies capable of neutralizing adhesion of ETEC to target cells.

In FIG. 4, human erythrocytes were agglutinated by ETEC expressing CFA/I, CS4 or CS14 in a mannose-resistant manner (MRHA). This MRHA can be inhibited by pre-incubation of bacteria with anti-CFA/I BIgG or anti-CfaE BIgG. Shown in FIG. 4, both anti-CFA/I BIgG and anti-CfaE BIgG contained antibodies capable of inhibiting the ability of ETEC that express the homologous fimbriae from agglutinating human erythrocytes. FIG. 4 shows the titer of BIgG (expressed as mg IgG/ml) required to neutralized aggluntination of bovine erythrocytes by ETEC expressing different colonization factors. The concentrations of BIgG products tested were adjusted so the minimal concentrations of IgG were equal in both products. Therefore, the data is expressed as the concentration of IgG that is required to inhibit MRHA by ETEC expressing CFA/I, CS4 or CS14 fimbriae. As little as 14 to 17 μg/ml of bovine IgG present in the BIgG powders are required in vitro to inhibit MRHA.

Strong inhibitory activity is provided by anti-CFA/I, as expected, with an equivalent level of inhibition provide by anti-CfaE. Of importance is that both anti-CFA/I and anti-CfaE show cross-reactivity of binding inhibition against CS4 and CS14. This illustrates that an anti-CfaE prophylactic antibody will have utility in conferring protection against other related antigens.


Production of Anti-CfaD (CS17) Bovine Immunoglobulin

Use of other class 5 fimbrial adhesins are also contemplated as eliciting protective passive antibody production. As a further illustration, results of inhibition by antibody to CS17 (i.e., CsbD) is presented in FIG. 5. The antigen used to elicit antibody was a CsbD polypeptide (SEQ ID No. 22) expressing construct. The construct was engineered similar to that for CfaE, in Example 1, above but with a nucleotide sequence encoding CsbD (SEQ ID No. 19). The construct was designated dsc19CsbD[His]6. The donor strand consisted of 19 amino acids of CsbA (SEQ ID No. 7).

As can be seen in FIG. 5, like that for CfaE, antibody to CsbD was highly efficient at inhibiting MRHA. Also, like that observed for CfaE, anti-CsbD antibody also afforded cross-protection against CS4 and CS2.

The functional activity of BIgG to CS17 and CsbD was also evaluated, as in FIG. 4. These results are illustrated in FIG. 6. Like that observed for anti-CfaE and anti-CFA/I, BIgG against both CS17 and CsbD exhibited significant inhibitory activity. However, more pronounce than for anti-CfaE BIgG, anti-CsbD, compared to anti-CS17 BIgG, exhibited significant inhibitory activity even to heterologous antigens. These observations, along with that observed for CfaE indicate that only a limited number of species within the Class five adhesin genus is likely to be required for efficacious passive protection.


Specific Regions of ETEC Fimbrial Adhesin are Important for Immunoreactivity and Stability

Crystollgraphic analysis of the dscCfaE reveals that fimbrial adhesin is composed of two domains, an adhesin domain, formed by the amino-terminal segment of the adhesin molecule and a C-terminal pilin domain. The two domains are separated by a three amino acid linker. In an attempt to understand those regions of fimbrial adhesin, amino acid substitutions where made and the ensuing immunoreactivity analyzed. It was found that replacement of arginine 67 or arginine 181 with alanine, on CfaE abolishes the in vitro adherence phenotype of the molecule. These amino acids positions are located on exposed regions of the molecule with residue Arg 181 located on the distal portion of the amino-terminus of the domain. Therefore, this region of CfaE and the comparable region of the other fimbrial adhesins, is important for efficacious immune induction. Table 3 summarizes the positions in the eight adhesins. Also shown in Table 3 is that region of the domain that has added importance, based on crystollgraphic analysis, in conferring structural stability of the fimbrial adhesin molecule.

Fimbrial Adhesin domainFimbrial Adhesin domain
residues important forresidues important for
Fimbrial Adhesinimmunoreactivitystructural stability
CfaEamino acids 66-183amino acids 22-202
CsuDamino acids 66-183amino acids 22-202
CsfDamino acids 66-183amino acids 22-202
CooDamino acids 65-183amino acids 20-205
CosDamino acids 65-185amino acids 20-205
CsbDamino acids 65-183amino acids 20-205
CsdBamino acids 65-183amino acids 20-205
CotDamino acids 58-177amino acids 14-196

Stabilization of the adhesin domain of intact fimbrial adhesin molecules is provided by the major subunit. However, devoid of the pili domain, fimbrial adhesin exhibits greater conformational stability than the intact molecule with concomitant retention of immunoreactivity. As an alternative to administration of the intact adhesin molecule, administration of only the adhesin domain is an alternative immunogen for induction of anti-fimbrial adhesin antibodies. Therefore, as an example, recombinant adhesin domain constructs encoding CfaE, CsbD and CotD adhesin domains, but not containing the pili domain, were constructed, by polymerase chain reaction amplification of the adhesin domain and inserted into pET 24a™. The amino acid sequences of the recombinant product is illustrated in SEQ ID No.s 35, 36 and 37. Incorporation of a polyhistidine tail, as in Example 1 and 2, facilitates purification of the ensuing expressed product.


Administration of Anti-Fimbrial Adhesin as Prophylactic against ETEC

Class five fimbrial adhesins can be used for the development of prophylactic protection against ETEC infection. Protection is provided by collecting colostrums or milk product from fimbrial adhesin, either native or recombinant Escherichia coli adhesin, immunizing cows. Immunization can be by any number of methods. However, a best mode is the administration of three doses intramuscularly three weeks apart with a final administration, 1 to 2 weeks prior to calving, of se in 1 to 2 ml volume containing up to 500 μg of said adhesin. Collection of milk or colostrums can be at anytime, however optimal results likely is when collection is 1 to 2 weeks prior to calving.

Administration of the anti-adhesin bovine immunoglobulin as a prophylactic is achieved by ingestion of 0.1 g IgG/dose to 20.0 g of IgG/dose. The anti-adhesin bovine colostrum or milk immunoglobulin can be ingested alone or mixed with a number of beverages or foods, such as in candy. The immunglobulin can also be reduced to tablet or capusular form and ingested.


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