Immunizations with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli heat-stable toxin conjugates engender toxin-neutralizing antibodies in mice that also cross-react with guanylin and uroguanylin
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionInfection and Immunity. 2019, 87 (7), 1-12. 10.1128/IAI.00099-19
Infection with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a common cause of childhood diarrhea in low- and middle-income countries, as well as of diarrhea among travelers to these countries. In children, ETEC strains secreting the heat-stable toxin (ST) are the most pathogenic, and there are ongoing efforts to develop vaccines that target ST. One important challenge for ST vaccine development is to construct immunogens that do not elicit antibodies that cross-react with guanylin and uroguanylin, which are endogenous peptides involved in regulating the activity of the guanylate cyclase-C (GC-C) receptor. We immunized mice with both human ST (STh) and porcine ST (STp) chemically coupled to bovine serum albumin, and the resulting sera neutralized the toxic activities of both STh and STp. This suggests that a vaccine based on either ST variant can confer cross-protection. However, several anti-STh and anti-STp sera cross-reacted with the endogenous peptides, suggesting that the ST sequence must be altered to reduce the risk of unwanted cross-reactivity. Epitope mapping of four monoclonal anti-STh and six anti-STp antibodies, all of which neutralized both STh and STp, revealed that most epitopes appear to have at least one amino acid residue shared with guanylin or uroguanylin. Despite this, only one monoclonal antibody displayed demonstrable cross-reactivity to the endogenous peptides, suggesting that targeted mutations of a limited number of ST residues may be sufficient to obtain a safe ST-based vaccine.