Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.
Necrotic enteritis (NE) in broiler chickens is caused by Clostridium perfringens, and there is currently no effective vaccine for NE. We previously showed that in broiler chickens protection against NE can be achieved through intramuscular immunization with alpha toxin (AT) and hypothetical protein (HP), and we subsequently identified B-cell epitopes in HP. In the present study, we identified B-cell epitopes in AT recognized by chickens immune to NE. The gene fragments encoding immunodominant epitopes of AT as well as those of HP were codon optimized for Salmonella and cloned into pYA3493, and the resultant plasmid constructs were introduced into an attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium chi9352 vaccine vehicle. The expression of these Clostridium perfringens proteins, alpha toxoid (ATd) and truncated HP (HPt), was confirmed by immunoblotting. The protection of broiler chickens against experimentally induced NE was assessed at both the moderate and the severe levels of challenge. Birds immunized orally with Salmonella expressing ATd were significantly protected against moderate NE, and there was a nonsignificant trend for protection against severe challenge, whereas HPt-immunized birds were significantly protected against both severities of challenge. Immunized birds developed serum IgY and mucosal IgA and IgY antibody responses against Clostridium and Salmonella antigens. In conclusion, this study identified, for the first time, the B-cell epitopes in AT from an NE isolate recognized by chickens and showed the partial protective ability of codon-optimized ATd and HPt against NE in broiler chickens when they were delivered orally by using a Salmonella vaccine vehicle.
PMID: 20007363 [PubMed - in process]