Expression and characterization of hemagglutinin-neuraminidase protein from Newcastle disease virus in Bacillus subtilis WB800

J Genet Eng Biotechnol. 2022 May 24;20(1):77. doi: 10.1186/s43141-022-00357-w.


Background: Newcastle disease virus (NDV) belongs to the genus Avaluvirus and Paramyxoviridae family, and it can cause acute, highly contagious Newcastle disease in poultry. The two proteins, haemagglutinin neuraminidase (HN) and Fusion (F), are the main virulence factor of the virus and play an essential role in immunogenicity against the virus. In most paramyxoviruses, the F protein requires HN protein to fuse the membrane, and HN proteins substantially enhance the viruses' fusion activity.

Results: The present study describes the successful cloning and expression of HN protein from NDV in Bacillus subtilis WB800 using the modified shuttle vector pHT43. HN coding sequence was cloned into the pGet II vector. It was then subcloned into the PHT43 shuttle vector and transferred to Escherichia coli for replication. The recombinant plasmid was extracted from E. coli and used to transform B. subtilis by electroporation. After induction of recombinant B. subtilis by IPTG, total cell protein and the protein secreted into the media were analysed through a time course using SDS-PAGE. The expressed HN protein was purified using cation exchange chromatography followed by metal affinity chromatography, using the 6× His epitope introduced at the carboxyl terminus of the recombinant protein. The accuracy of the PHT43-HN construct was confirmed by sequencing and enzymatic digestion. SDS-PAGE results showed that the recombinant HN protein was successfully expressed and secreted into the medium. Moreover, the purified HN protein showed neuraminidase activity with characteristics similar to the indigenous HN NDV protein. B. subtilis is a free endotoxin host that could be a favourite prokaryotic platform for producing the recombinant HN protein.

Conclusion: The establishment of this expression and purification system has allowed us to explore further the biochemical characteristics of HN protein and obtain material that could be suitable for a new production of NDV candidate vaccine with high immunogenicity.

Keywords: Bacillus subtilis; Newcastle disease virus; Purification; Secretory expression.