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Evaluation of 4 merozoite antigens as candidate vaccines against Eimeria tenella infection.

ABSTRACT: Coccidiosis, caused by parasites of the genus Eimeria, is one of the most widespread and economically detrimental diseases in the global poultry industry. Because the merozoite stage of Eimeria tenella is immunologically vulnerable, motile, and functionally important for the parasites, the proteins expressed in these stages are considered to be potentially immunoprotective antigens, especially the secreted antigens and surface antigens. Here, we detected a previously unidentified MIC2-associated protein (Et-M2AP) from E. tenella and determined its localization. An immunofluorescence assay revealed that Et-M2AP was distributed in the apical part of second generation merozoites and sporozoites. In addition, an expression profile analysis revealed that the transcriptional level of Et-M2AP is significantly higher in the merozoite stage. To assess the potential of Et-M2AP protein as a coccidiosis vaccine, we expressed recombinant Et-M2AP (rEt-M2AP) and compared the immune protective efficacy of rEt-M2AP with 3 surface antigens that are highly expressed by merozoites (rEt-SAG23, rEt-SAG16, and rEt-SAG2 proteins). The immune protective efficacy of these vaccine candidates was assessed based on survival rate, lesion score, BW gain, relative BW gain, and oocyst output. The results show that the survival rate was 90%, which are significantly higher than those in the challenge control group. The BW gain rate was 42% (P < 0.001) in rEt-M2AP-immunized chickens, which are significantly higher than those in the challenge control group and rEt-SAG23, rEt-SAG16, and rEt-SAG2 proteins-immunized chickens. In addition, chickens immunized with rEt-M2AP (88% oocyst output decrease rate, P < 0.001) had the least oocyst output, compared with those immunized with rEt-SAG16 (59.2% oocyst output decrease rate, P < 0.001), rEt-SAG23 (22% oocyst output decrease rate), and rEt-SAG2 (1.36% oocyst output decrease rate). These results demonstrate that rEt-M2AP provided effective protection against challenge with E. tenella, suggesting that rEt-M2AP is a promising candidate antigen gene for development as a coccidiosis vaccine.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7936139 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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