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1.  Structure Predictions of Two Bauhinia variegata Lectins Reveal Patterns of C-Terminal Properties in Single Chain Legume Lectins 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81338.
Bauhinia variegata lectins (BVL-I and BVL-II) are single chain lectins isolated from the plant Bauhinia variegata. Single chain lectins undergo post-translational processing on its N-terminal and C-terminal regions, which determines their physiological targeting, carbohydrate binding activity and pattern of quaternary association. These two lectins are isoforms, BVL-I being highly glycosylated, and thus far, it has not been possible to determine their structures. The present study used prediction and validation algorithms to elucidate the likely structures of BVL-I and -II. The program Bhageerath-H was chosen from among three different structure prediction programs due to its better overall reliability. In order to predict the C-terminal region cleavage sites, other lectins known to have this modification were analysed and three rules were created: (1) the first amino acid of the excised peptide is small or hydrophobic; (2) the cleavage occurs after an acid, polar, or hydrophobic residue, but not after a basic one; and (3) the cleavage spot is located 5-8 residues after a conserved Leu amino acid. These rules predicted that BVL-I and –II would have fifteen C-terminal residues cleaved, and this was confirmed experimentally by Edman degradation sequencing of BVL-I. Furthermore, the C-terminal analyses predicted that only BVL-II underwent α-helical folding in this region, similar to that seen in SBA and DBL. Conversely, BVL-I and -II contained four conserved regions of a GS-I association, providing evidence of a previously undescribed X4+unusual oligomerisation between the truncated BVL-I and the intact BVL-II. This is the first report on the structural analysis of lectins from Bauhinia spp. and therefore is important for the characterisation C-terminal cleavage and patterns of quaternary association of single chain lectins.
PMCID: PMC3834338  PMID: 24260572
2.  Production and Evaluation of a Recombinant Chimeric Vaccine against Clostridium botulinum Neurotoxin Types C and D 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69692.
Bovine botulism is a fatal disease that is caused by botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) produced by Clostridium botulinum serotypes C and D and that causes great economic losses, with nearly 100% lethality during outbreaks. It has also been considered a potential source of human food-borne illness in many countries. Vaccination has been reported to be the most effective way to control bovine botulism. However, the commercially available toxoid-based vaccines are difficult and hazardous to produce. Neutralizing antibodies targeted against the C-terminal fragment of the BoNT heavy chain (HC) are known to confer efficient protection against lethal doses of BoNTs. In this study, a novel recombinant chimera, consisting of Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit (LTB), a strong adjuvant of the humoral immune response, fused to the HC of BoNT serotypes C and D, was produced in E. coli. Mice vaccinated with the chimera containing LTB and an equivalent molar ratio of the chimera without LTB plus aluminum hydroxide (Al(OH)3) developed 2 IU/mL of antitoxins for both serotypes. Guinea pigs immunized with the recombinant chimera with LTB plus Al(OH)3 developed a protective immune response against both BoNT/C (5 IU/mL) and BoNT/D (10 IU/mL), as determined by a mouse neutralization bioassay with pooled sera. The results achieved with guinea pig sera fulfilled the requirements of commercial vaccines for prevention of botulism, as determined by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, Supply. The presence of LTB was essential for the development of a strong humoral immune response, as it acted in synergism with Al(OH)3. Thus, the vaccine described in this study is a strong candidate for the control of botulism in cattle.
PMCID: PMC3729698  PMID: 23936080
3.  Highly specific fiber optic immunosensor coupled with immunomagnetic separation for detection of low levels of Listeria monocytogenes and L. ivanovii 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:275.
Immunomagnetic separation (IMS) and immunoassays are widely used for pathogen detection. However, novel technology platforms with highly selective antibodies are essential to improve detection sensitivity, specificity and performance. In this study, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against Internalin A (InlA) and p30 were generated and used on paramagnetic beads of varying diameters for concentration, as well as on fiber-optic sensor for detection.
Anti-InlA MAb-2D12 (IgG2a subclass) was specific for Listeria monocytogenes and L. ivanovii, and p30-specific MAb-3F8 (IgM) was specific for the genus Listeria. At all bacterial concentrations (103–108 CFU/mL) tested in the IMS assay; the 1-μm diameter MyOne beads had significantly higher capture efficiency (P < 0.05) than the 2.8-μm diameter M-280 beads with both antibodies. The highest capture efficiency for MyOne-2D12 (49.2% for 105 CFU/mL) was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than that of MyOne-3F8 (16.6 %) and Dynabeads anti-Listeria antibody (9 %). Furthermore, capture efficiency for MyOne-2D12 was highly specific for L. monocytogenes and L. ivanovii. Subsequently, we captured L. monocytogenes by MyOne-2D12 and MyOne-3F8 from hotdogs inoculated with mono- or co-cultures of L. monocytogenes and L. innocua (10–40 CFU/g), enriched for 18 h and detected by fiber-optic sensor and confirmed by plating, light-scattering, and qPCR assays. The detection limit for L. monocytogenes and L. ivanovii by the fiber-optic immunosensor was 3 × 102 CFU/mL using MAb-2D12 as capture and reporter antibody. Selective media plating, light-scattering, and qPCR assays confirmed the IMS and fiber-optic results.
IMS coupled with a fiber-optic sensor using anti-InlA MAb is highly specific for L. monocytogenes and L. ivanovii and enabled detection of these pathogens at low levels from buffer or food.
PMCID: PMC3533925  PMID: 23176167
Listeria monocytogenes; Internalin A; Monoclonal antibody; Immunomagnetic separation; Fiber optic sensor; Light scattering sensor; qPCR; Detection; Biosensor
4.  Protection against Lethal Leptospirosis after Vaccination with LipL32 Coupled or Coadministered with the B Subunit of Escherichia coli Heat-Labile Enterotoxin 
Leptospirosis, a worldwide zoonosis, lacks an effective, safe, and cross-protective vaccine. LipL32, the most abundant, immunogenic, and conserved surface lipoprotein present in all pathogenic species of Leptospira, is a promising antigen candidate for a recombinant vaccine. However, several studies have reported a lack of protection when this protein is used as a subunit vaccine. In an attempt to enhance the immune response, we used LipL32 coupled to or coadministered with the B subunit of the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LTB) in a hamster model of leptospirosis. After homologous challenge with 5× the 50% lethal dose (LD50) of Leptospira interrogans, animals vaccinated with LipL32 coadministered with LTB and LTB::LipL32 had significantly higher survival rates (P < 0.05) than animals from the control group. This is the first report of a protective immune response afforded by a subunit vaccine using LipL32 and represents an important contribution toward the development of improved leptospirosis vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3346321  PMID: 22379066

Results 1-4 (4)