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Leptospira borgpetersenii hybrid leucine-rich repeat protein: Cloning and expression, immunogenic identification and molecular docking evaluation.

J Microbiol Methods; 142: 52-62, 2017 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28912108
Leptospirosis is an important zoonotic disease, and the major outbreak of this disease in Thailand in 1999 was due largely to the Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Sejroe. Identification of the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) LBJ_2271 protein containing immunogenic epitopes and the discovery of the LBJ_2271 ortholog in Leptospira serovar Sejroe, KU_Sej_R21_2271, led to further studies of the antigenic immune properties of KU_Sej_LRR_2271. The recombinant hybrid (rh) protein was created and expressed from a hybrid PCR fragment of KU_Sej_R21_2271 fused with DNA encoding the LBJ_2271 signal sequence for targeting protein as a membrane-anchoring protein. The fusion DNA was cloned into pET160/GW/D-TOPO® to form the pET160_hKU_R21_2271 plasmid. The plasmid was used to express the rhKU_Sej_LRR_2271 protein in Escherichia coli BL21 Star™ (DE3). The expressed protein was immunologically detected by Western blotting and immunoreactivity detection with hyperimmune sera, T cell epitope prediction by HLA allele and epitope peptide binding affinity, and potential T cell reactivity analysis. The immunogenic epitopes of the protein were evaluated and verified by HLA allele and epitope peptide complex structure molecular docking. Among fourteen best allele epitopes of this protein, binding affinity values of 12 allele epitopes remained unchanged compared to LBJ_2271. Two epitopes for alleles HLA-A0202 and -A0301 had higher IC values, while T cell reactivity values of these peptides were better than values from LBJ_2271 epitopes. Eight of twelve epitope peptides had positive T-cell reactivity scores. Although the molecular docking of two epitopes, 3FPLLKEFLV11/47FPLLKEFLV55 and 50KLSTVPEGV58, into an HLA-A0202 model revealed a good fit in the docked structures, 50KLSTVPEGV58 and 94KLSTVPEEV102 are still considered as the proteins' best epitopes for allele HLA-A0202. The results of this study showed that rhKU_Sej_LRR_2271 protein contained natural immunological properties that should be further examined with respect to antigenic immune stimulation for vaccine development to prevent prevalent leptospiral serovar infection in Thailand.