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INDUCTION OF PROTECTIVE IMMUNITY AGAINST SCRUB TYPHUS WITH A 56-KILODALTON RECOMBINANT ANTIGEN FUSED WITH A 47-KILODALTON ANTIGEN OF ORIENTIA TSUTSUGAMUSHI KARP

YUEFEI YUBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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BOHAI WENBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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BOGUI WENBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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DONGSHENG NIUBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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MEILING CHENBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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LING QIUBeijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; Allergy and Inflammation Research Institute, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, People’s Republic of China

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A partial gene sequence encoding the 56-kD scrub typhus antigen (Sta56) was amplified from genomic DNA of the Orientia tsutsugamushi Karp strain by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The PCR product was ligated with the 47-kD scrub typhus antigen (Sta47) gene in the pQE30/47 expression vector, and the resulting recombinant expression vector was designated pQE30/56-47. A fusion antigen (Sta56-47) was expressed in Escherichia coli cells transformed with pQE30/56-47 after induction with isopropyl-β-d-thiogalactopyranoside. The Sta56-47 antigen was recognized by both Sta47 and Sta56 immune sera and by immune serum to Sta56-47 in an immunoblot assay. This antigen was purified and used to immunize BALB/c mice. The animals immunized with Sta56-47 exhibited profound humoral and cellular immune responses, as well as increased resistance to O. tsutsugamushi Karp compared with mice immunized with Sta56 or Sta47. These results strongly suggest that Sta56-47 contains antigenic epitopes of the Sta56 and Sta47 antigens of O. tsutsugamushi Karp, and is a more suitable candidate for replacing whole-cell antigen of O. tsutsugamushi Karp to induce protective immunity against scrub typhus.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Bohai Wen, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Dong-Da-Jie Street, Fengtai, Beijing 100071, People’s Republic of China, Tel: 86-1066948682, Fax: 86-1063813974.
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