Intimin is a 94–97 kDa protein expressed on the EPEC surface that mediates adhesion of EPEC to the epithelial gut cells  that mediates intimate Depsipeptide order contact with the bacterial translocated intimin receptor (Tir) . The N-terminal region is conserved among the different intimin subtypes, while the C-terminal regions are highly variable.
The 29 intimin subtypes are identified according to their C-terminal amino acid sequences ,  and . Intimin-β is the most common subtype expressed in EPEC isolates ,  and . Bundle-forming pilus (BfpA) is another virulence factor, which mediates the initial contact between EPEC and the host cell Selleckchem Cyclopamine . BfpA is encoded by a gene localized on a plasmid 50–70 MDa in size and is designated as EPEC adherence factor (EAF) , ,  and . Within adherent
micro-colonies of EPEC, BfpA organizes a meshwork that allows bacteria to attach to each other and to tether themselves to the host cell surface . Therefore, BfpA and intimin are two important virulence factors and are considered to be strategic target candidates for the design of a new vaccine against EPEC. The generation of stable vectors expressing the desired immunogens is the goal of modern vaccine technology. The inclusion of genes encoding relevant epitopes into living, non-infective vectors that constitutively express immunological adjuvant components would be ideal. Attenuated bacteria have been used as vectors to express and deliver heterologous antigens.
This type of vaccine vector is an attractive system because it can elicit mucosal, humoral and cellular host immune responses to foreign antigens . These live vectors have been used not extensively to express antigens of different types of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and parasites, some of which have demonstrated positive results . However, each vector has its unique features that should be considered before it is used. In this study, the genes encoding BfpA and intimin were investigated using two different live vectors: Mycobacterium bovis BCG Moreau (BCG) and Mycobacterium smegmatis mc2155 (Smeg) to generate the recombinant strains. C57BL/6 female mice, 4 weeks old, 18–22 g were supplied by Isogenic Mouse Breeding Facility of the Butantan Institute. All animals were cared under ethical conditions according to the Brazilian code for the use of laboratory animals . All protocols were approved by the Animal Care and Ethics Committees at the Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil. All cloning steps were performed in DH5-α E. coli strain grown in Luria–Bertani broth (LB) supplemented with kanamycin (20 μg/mL) or ampicillin (100 μg/mL).