Immunogenicity of a 16.7 kDa Mycobacterium paratuberculosis antigen

Jacob Mullerad, Avi Hai Hovav, Ronen Nahary, Yolanta Fishman, Herve Bercovier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (MPT), the agent of paratuberculosis is a slow growing mycobacteria that causes important economic losses mainly due to lower weight gains and drastic decrease in milk production. Existing paratuberculosis vaccines are not completely protective and induce antibodies/delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction that cannot be differentiated from those of naturally infected animals. New potent acellular vaccines that allow discrimination between infected and vaccinated animals are needed to improve the control of this disease. We have identified, expressed and purified a hypothetical thiol peroxidase of MPT (MPT-TP) in mice. We also characterized the immunogenicity of this antigen in mice. The recombinant MPT-TP (rMPT-TP) antigen induced a high production of IFNγ, IL-6, and NO and a low production of IL-10 by spleen cells of immunized mice. Addition of Ribi adjuvant to rMPT-TP resulted in lower IFNγ secretion and higher NO production in spleen cells. A similar level of proliferation of spleen cells exposed to rMPT-TP was found in immunized groups (rMPT-TP and rMPT-TP emulsified in Ribi). DTH responses in mice footpads were observed only in mice immunized with rMPT-TP emulsified in Ribi. Addition of Ribi adjuvant clearly induced a significantly higher anti-rMPT-TP antibody production of all classes tested and decreased the IgG1/IgG2a ratio. MPT-TP demonstrated antigenic characteristics that make this antigen a potential component in the development of a future subunit vaccine against paratuberculosis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)81-90
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Pathogenesis
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Research Grant No. IS-2564-95E from BARD, The United States–Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. We greatly thank Amir Zlotkin and Dr Miri Abramson from the veterinary services and animal health of the state of Israel for their help.


  • Hypothetical thiol peroxidase
  • Mycobacterium paratuberculosis
  • Ribi adjuvant
  • Secreted antigen
  • Th1/Th2 immune response


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