Date of this Version
Infection and Immunity (2004), 72(1), p. 168-175. DOI: 10.1128/IAI.72.1.168–175.2004
Intimin is the primary adhesin of Escherichia coli O157:H7, the most common infectious cause of bloody diarrhea in the United States and the leading cause of acute kidney failure in children who develop hemolytic uremic syndrome. Cattle are the primary reservoir of E. coli O157:H7. Indeed, most cases of E. coli O157:H7 infection in the United States occur after ingestion of contaminated undercooked hamburger or produce that had contact with bovine manure. Because intimin is required for persistent colonization of neonatal calves and adult cattle, we hypothesized that an intimin-based vaccination strategy in calves would reduce colonization of cattle with E. coli O157:H7. To test this concept in a small-animal model, we developed transgenic tobacco plant cells that express the carboxy-terminal host cell-binding domain of E. coli O157:H7 intimin. Mice were either immunized intraperitoneally with intimin expressed from the plant cells, fed transgenic plant cells, or both. Here we show that these mice generated an intimin-specific mucosal immune response when primed parenterally and then boosted orally and also exhibited a reduced duration of E. coli O157:H7 fecal shedding after challenge.