Display of GCRV vp7 protein on the surface ofEscherichia coliand its immunoprotective effects in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)

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Infection with Grass carp reovirus (GCRV) is becoming unprecedentedly widespread in grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) aquaculture industry, yet the management of GCRV infection still remains a challenge. Therefore, it is of importance to develop effective means against GCRV. As a delivery system of viral antigens, surface displaying of heterologous proteins on bacteria using anchoring motifs has successfully been implemented in human and veterinary vaccines research. In this study, a novel vaccine (BL21/InpN/vp7) was developed based on surface displaying a major capsid protein (vp7) of GCRV using the anchoring motif of N-terminal unique domain of ice-nucleation protein (InpN) on Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) vaccine. Then the grass carp were immunized by surface displaying BL21/InpN/vp7 vaccine against GCRV using both intraperitoneal injection and bath immunization and their immune responses were tested. The results revealed that some non-specific immune parameters (acid phosphatase (ACP), alkaline phosphatase (AKP) and total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC)) were strongly increased in grass carp post injection inoculation (vp7 dose ranged from 10 to 20 μg). The specific antibody levels against GCRV and the transcriptional of immune-related genes (TNF-α, IL-1β, MHCI and IgM) were also significantly enhanced in grass carp by injection inoculation (vp7 dose ranged from 5 to 20 μg). On the other hand, only the highest dose of bath vaccination significantly induced the production of specific antibody and up-regulated transcriptions of several immune-related genes (IgM and MHCI) in grass carp. The lower cumulative mortality of grass carp in vaccinated groups after GCRV challenge clearly demonstrated that surface displayed vp7 vaccine could protect fish against GCRV infection. The relative percentage survival (RPS) value in injection vaccinated group (88.89%) was much higher compared to bath group (18.89%), which was in consistent with the production of specific serum antibodies, non-specific immune response and immune related genes expression. To sum up, our results indicated the surface display of heterologous antigenic proteins on E. coli BL21 (DE3) using the anchoring motif of ice-nucleation protein may provide a promising approach to the vaccine development of aquatic animals and suggested its potential to be used as vaccine to fight against GCRV infection.

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