Expression and purification of immunologically reactive DPPD, a recombinant Mycobacterium tuberculosis skin test antigen, using Mycobacterium smegmatis and Escherichia coli host cells.

DPPD is a Mycobacterium tuberculosis recombinant antigen that elicits specific delayed type hypersensitivity reactions similar in size and morphological aspects to that elicited by purified protein derivative, in both guinea pigs and humans infected with M. tuberculosis. In addition, earlier clinical studies with DPPD suggested that this molecule could improve the specificity of the tuberculin skin test, which is used as an important aid for the diagnosis of tuberculosis. However, these studies could only be performed with DPPD engineered as a fusion molecule with another Mycobacterium spp. protein because no expression of DPPD could be achieved as a single molecule or as a conventional fusion protein in any commercial system. Although recombinant fusion proteins are in general suitable for several biological studies, they are by definition not ideal for studies involving highly purified and defined polypeptide sequences. Here, we report two alternative approaches for the expression of immunologically reactive recombinant genuine DPPD. The first approach used the rapidly growing, nonpathogenic Mycobacterium smegmatis as host cells transformed with the pSMT3 plasmid vector containing the full-length DPPD gene. The second approach used Escherichia coli transformed with the pET-17b plasmid vector containing the DPPD gene engineered in a three-copy fusion manner in tandem with itself. Though at low levels, expression and purification of immunologically reactive DPPD in M. smegmatis could be achieved. More abundant expression and purification of DPPD as a homo-trimer molecule was achieved in E. coli (> or =2 mg/L of bacterial broth cultures). Interestingly, expression could only be achieved in host cells transformed with the DPPD gene containing its leader peptide. However, the expressed proteins lacked the leader sequence, which indicates that processing of the M. tuberculosis DPPD gene was accurately achieved and necessary in both M. smegmatis and E. coli. More importantly, the delayed type hypersensitivity reactions elicited by purified molecules in guinea pigs infected with M. tuberculosis were indistinguishable from that elicited by purified protein derivative. Because the DPPD gene is present only in the tuberculosis-complex organisms of the Mycobacterium genus, these highly purified molecules should be helpful in identifying individuals sensitized with tubercle bacilli.
AuthorsChao Liu, Eric Flamoe, Hong-Jing Chen, Darrick Carter, Steven G Reed, Antonio Campos-Neto
JournalCanadian journal of microbiology (Can J Microbiol) Vol. 50 Issue 2 Pg. 97-105 (Feb 2004) ISSN: 0008-4166 [Print] Canada
PMID15052311 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.)
Chemical References
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • DPPD protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Bacterial (genetics, immunology)
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Escherichia coli (genetics, metabolism)
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hypersensitivity, Delayed (immunology)
  • Mycobacterium smegmatis (genetics, metabolism)
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (immunology)
  • Protein Sorting Signals (genetics, physiology)
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins (biosynthesis, genetics, immunology, isolation & purification)
  • Recombinant Proteins (biosynthesis, genetics, immunology, isolation & purification)
  • Skin Tests (methods)
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences
  • Tuberculin Test

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