Edwardsiella tarda DnaK: expression, activity, and the basis for the construction of a bivalent live vaccine against E. tarda and Streptococcus iniae.
ABSTRACT Edwardsiella tarda and Streptococcus iniae are important aquaculture pathogens that affect many species of farmed fish. In this study, we analyzed the expression, activity, and immunoprotective potential of E. tarda heat shock protein DnaK. We found that dnaK expression was upregulated under conditions of heat shock, oxidative stress, and infection of host cells. Recombinant DnaK (rDnaK) purified from Escherichia coli exhibited ATPase activity and induced protection in Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) against lethal E. tarda challenge. On the basis of these results and our previous observation that a protective S. iniae antigen Sia10 which, when expressed heterogeneously in E. coli DH5α, is secreted into the extracellular milieu, we constructed a chimeric antigen by fusing DnaK to Sia10. The resulting fusion protein Sia10-DnaK was expressed in DH5α via the plasmid pTDK. Western blot analysis indicated that Sia10-DnaK was detected in the culture supernatant of DH5α/pTDK. When flounder were vaccinated with live DH5α/pTDK, strong protection was observed against both E. tarda and S. iniae. ELISA analysis detected specific serum antibody production in fish vaccinated with rDnaK and DH5α/pTDK. Taken together, these results indicate that rDnaK is an intrinsic ATPase with immunoprotective property and that Sia10-DnaK delivered by a live bacterial host is an effective bivalent vaccine candidate against E. tarda and S. iniae infection.