Intranasal immunogenicity and adjuvanticity of site-directed mutant derivatives of cholera toxin

Gill Douce, Mariarita Fontana, Mariagrazia Pizza, Rino Rappuoli, Gordon Dougan

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Genetically modified derivatives of cholera toxin (CT), harboring a single amino acid substitution in and around the NAD binding cleft of the A subunit, were isolated following site-directed mutagenesis of the ctxA gene. Two mutants of CT, designated CTS106 (with a proline-to-serine change at position 106) and CTK63 (with a serine-to-lysine change at position 63), were found to have substantially reduced ADP-ribosyltransferase activity and toxicity; CTK63 was completely nontoxic in all assays, whereas CTS106 was 104 times less toxic than wild-type CT. The mucosal adjuvanticity and immunogenicity of derivatives of CT were assessed by intranasal immunization of mice, with either ovalbumin or fragment C of tetanus toxin as a bystander antigen. Mice immunized with wild-type CT produced both local (immunoglobulin A in mucosal washes) and systemic immune responses to both CT and bystander antigens. CTS106 showed good local and systemic responses to bystander proteins and to itself. Interestingly, mice immunized with the nontoxic derivative of CT, CTK63, generated weak immune responses to the bystander antigens which were similar to those achieved when CT B subunit was used as an adjuvant. In parallel experiments, an equivalent nontoxic mutant of the Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin, LTK63 (with a serine-to-lysine change at position 63), was tested (9). In contrast to CTK63, LTK63 was found to be more immunogenic and a better intranasal adjuvant than recombinant heat-labile enterotoxin B subunit or CTK63. This information, together with data on immunoglobulin subclass responses, suggests that although highly homologous, CT and heat-labile enterotoxin should ant be considered biologically identical in terms of their ability to act as intranasal adjuvants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2821-2828
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

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