Oral immunization of Carassius auratus with modified recombinant A-layer proteins entrapped in alginate beads

Sarah Maurice, Amos Nussinovitch, Nicole Jaffe, Oded Shoseyov, Arieh Gertler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


This study was focused on the utilization of a recombinant expression system to produce a unique modified subunit vaccine possessing a self-contained delivery system which could potentially improve the uptake and delivery of vaccine products as well their immunogenic potential. For this purpose the A-layer protein (At-R) associated with the fish pathogen atypical Aeromonas salmonicida was cloned and modified by the genetic fusion of the protein transduction domain (MTS) derived from Kaposi fibroblast growth factor (At-MTS). The potential for these proteins to be employed as antigens for oral immunization of goldfish was examined by encapsulation of At-R, At-MTS and the control, BSA, into biodegradable alginate gel macrospheres which were fed to goldfish in place of standard pellet fish feed. The bead physical properties were modified only in the presence of At-R and the temporal release of proteins was significantly less when At-MTS was employed. Western blot analysis of serum samples collected from fish following intubation with the recombinant proteins determined that the rate of protein uptake from the digestive tract into the blood system improved considerably when MTS was fused to At-R. Experimental fish were fed one of three protein-alginate formulae on a schedule of 3 days/week or 5 days/month for a period of 2 months. After 1 month, animals fed on the 5-day protocol demonstrated increased serum antibody titers while following an additional month of feeding this level decreased and titers were found to be higher in fish maintained on the 3-day regime. Fish fed At-MTS maintained the highest titer at the end of 2-month period. To determine whether the diminished antibody titers were a result of oral tolerance fish were injected intraperitoneally with the At-R antigen. Only experimental groups which had been fed At-R or At-MTS demonstrated increased antibody titers which paralleled a typical secondary humoral response. In spite of the presence of an increased titer to A-protein, vaccinated fish did not demonstrate resistance to infection with atypical A. salmonicida.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)450-459
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - 9 Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants received from the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (agreement No. 0325878).


  • Alginate
  • Goldfish
  • Membrane translocation sequence (MTS)
  • Oral immunization


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