Immunization of mice with Lactobacillus casei expressing intimin fragments produces antibodies able to inhibit the adhesion of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli to cultivated epithelial cells

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2008 Nov;54(2):245-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00471.x. Epub 2008 Sep 17.


Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) are frequently isolated as a cause of infantile diarrhea in developing countries. Its pathogenicity is distinguished by histopathological alterations at the site of infection, known as attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions, in which bacterial virulence factors and host proteins participate. Intimin, a bacterial adhesin expressed by all EPEC described to date, is responsible for the intimate adherence of the bacteria to host cells and is essential for the formation of A/E lesions. Mucosal vaccination may represent an efficacious intervention to prevent EPEC infection and lower morbidity and mortality rates. Strategies for mucosal vaccinations that use lactic acid bacteria for the delivery of heterologous antigens rely on their safety profile and ability to stimulate the immune system. In the present work, we have constructed Lactobacillus casei strains expressing different fragments of intimin beta, a subtype that is frequently expressed by EPEC strains. Mucosal immunization of mice with L. casei expressing intimin fragments induced specific systemic and mucosal antibodies. These antibodies were able to recognize native intimin on the surface of EPEC and to inhibit in vitro EPEC binding to epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Adhesins, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / immunology*
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Immunization
  • Lactobacillus casei / genetics*
  • Lactobacillus casei / immunology
  • Mice
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • eaeA protein, E coli