OmpN, outer membrane proteins ofEdwardsiella ictaluriare potential vaccine candidates for channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)

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Outer membrane proteins (OMPs) are a class of proteins that reside in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. OMPs act as epitopes and are potential vaccine candidates. Outer membrane protein N (OmpN) is a component of the outer membrane of Edwardsiella ictaluri (E. ictaluri). In a previous study, the OmpN1-, OmpN2-, OmpN3-encoding genes of E. ictaluri were cloned, and here they were expressed in Escherichia coli. Western blotting showed that these three proteins had molecular weights of ˜60 kDa. Channel catfish were immunized with recombinant OmpNs (rOmpNs) and then challenged with E. ictaluri. The results showed that rOmpN1, rOmpN2, and rOmpN3, as well as a mixture of all three proteins (in a ratio of 1:1:1) generated moderate immune protection (relative percentage of survival = 62.5, 62.5, 67.5, and 75%, respectively). In an agglutination antibody titer assay, fish antisera showed an antibody titer of 1:128. Furthermore, each of the proteins stimulated high levels of lysozyme activity. In addition, a real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed significant up-regulation of immune-related genes encoding major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I), MHC II, CD4L, tumor necrosis factor-α, and interferon-γ after 24 and 48 h of challenge, compared with the levels stimulated by phosphate-buffered saline. Taken together, we conclude that rOmpNs may elicit immune responses and generate protection against E. ictaluri in channel catfish. Thus, rOmpNs could be promising vaccine candidates against E. ictaluri.

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