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Construction of Minitransposons for Constitutive and Inducible Expression of Pertussis Toxin in Bvg-Negative Bordetella-Bronchiseptica

By Mark J. Walker, Manfred Rohde, Jurgen Wehland and Kenneth N. Timmis


Appropriately detoxified pertussis toxin (PT) of Bordetella pertussis is considered to be an essential component of new-generation whooping cough vaccines, but the development of a procedure to obtain high levels of purified toxin has been and continues to be a major difficulty. To produce a system enabling the biological separation of PT from other virulence determinants of B. pertussis and the attainment of high yields of the toxin, minitransposons containing the PT operon were constructed and stably integrated into the chromosome of Bordetella virulence regulatory gene (bvg)-negative Bordetella bronchiseptica ATCC 10580. Since the minitransposons introduced into Bordetella spp. lack the cognate transposase function, they are unable to undergo further transposition events or mediate gene deletions and rearrangements that lead to strain instability. The TnPtacPT minitransposon contains the PT operon under the control of the tac promoter and directs IPTG (isopropyl-beta-D-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible expression of PT in B. bronchiseptica ATCC 10580. The level of IPTG-induced PT expression was, however, lower than that found for the wild-type B. pertussis Tohama I strain. The TnfusPT minitransposon contains a promoterless PT operon which is only expressed after insertion of the transposon downstream of an appropriately oriented indigenous promoter. After "promoter probing" of B. bronchiseptica with the transposon, clones were screened for PT production by immunoblotting with specific monoclonal antibodies. One clone, designated B. bronchiseptica 10580:: TnfusPT1, expresses significantly higher levels of PT than does B. pertussis Tohama I. The recombinant toxin produced was biologically active in the Chinese hamster ovary cell-clustering assay. High-level expression of PT from a B. bronchiseptica host promoter should provide better yields of the toxin from bacteria not producing other bvg-regulated pathogenesis factors that may play a role in the undesired side effects of current pertussis vaccine preparations

Topics: Hamster Ovary Cells, Chromosomal Insertion, Escherichia-Coli, Whooping-Cough, Cloning, Genes, Proteins, Subunit, Vaccine, Dna
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 1991
OAI identifier:

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