Expression of nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) interleukin-2 inE. coli

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The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is the only immunologically intact animal that regularly develops lepromatous-type leprosy when inoculated with Mycobacterium leprae. However, the ability to exploit this model for understanding the pathogenesis of leprosy has been limited by a lack of suitable immunological reagents. Recently, efforts began to sequence the entire armadillo genome, and this sequence information will help make possible the development of a wide array of new immunological reagents suitable for use with armadillos. Using the available sequence data, a region of high homology to interleukin-2 of other mammals was identified. Primers were designed to amplify the coding region corresponding to the mature peptide and its exact sequence was confirmed. cDNA was made from ConA-stimulated armadillo PBMC. The amplified coding region was sub-cloned into a pET expression vector and transformed into Escherichia coli for over-expression. The subsequent product was characterized by SDS-PAGE and bioassays. Tritiated thymidine incorporation by CTLL-2 and armadillo lymphoblasts confirmed functionality of the recombinant product. The advent of the D. novemcinctus genome sequence and subsequent generation of immunological tools will assist in advancing the armadillo as a translational model for leprosy.

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