Production of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Proteins in Bacillus Subtilis and Their Use in Characterizing Immune Responses in the Experimental Infection Model

Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2003 May;10(3):367-75. doi: 10.1128/cdli.10.3.367-375.2003.


Due to intracellular growth requirements, large-scale cultures of chlamydiae and purification of its proteins are difficult and laborious. To overcome these problems we produced chlamydial proteins in a heterologous host, Bacillus subtilis, a gram-positive nonpathogenic bacterium. The genes of Chlamydia pneumoniae major outer membrane protein (MOMP), the cysteine-rich outer membrane protein (Omp2), and the heat shock protein (Hsp60) were amplified by PCR, and the PCR products were cloned into expression vectors containing a promoter, a ribosome binding site, and a truncated signal sequence of the alpha-amylase gene from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. C. pneumoniae genes were readily expressed in B. subtilis under the control of the alpha-amylase promoter. The recombinant proteins MOMP and Hsp60 were purified from the bacterial lysate with the aid of the carboxy-terminal histidine hexamer tag by affinity chromatography. The Omp2 was separated as an insoluble fraction after 8 M urea treatment. The purified proteins were successfully used as immunogens and as antigens in serological assays and in a lymphoproliferation test. The Omp2 and Hsp60 antigens were readily recognized by the antibodies appearing after pulmonary infection following intranasal inoculation of C. pneumoniae in mice. Also, splenocytes collected from mice immunized with MOMP or Hsp60 proteins proliferated in response to in vitro stimulation with the corresponding proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Chaperonin 60 / biosynthesis
  • Chaperonin 60 / genetics
  • Chaperonin 60 / immunology
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / chemistry*
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Immunization
  • Immunoassay
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Mice
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Transgenes


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Chaperonin 60
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Omp2 protein, bacteria
  • Recombinant Proteins