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Infection and Immunity


Toxin-coregulated pilus (TCP) is a colonization factor required for cholera infection. It is not a strong immunogen when delivered in the context of whole cells, yet pilus subunits or TcpA derivative synthetic peptides induce protective responses. We examined the efficacy of immunizing mice with TCP conjugated to anti-class II monoclonal antibodies (MAb) with or without the addition of cholera toxin (CT) or anti-CD40 MAb to determine if the serologic response to TcpA could be manipulated. Anti-class II MAb-targeted TCP influenced the anti-TCP peptide serologic response with respect to titer and isotype. Responses to TcpA peptide 4 were induced with class II MAb-targeted TCP and not with nontargeted TCP. Class II MAb-targeting TcpA reduced the response to peptide 6 compared to the nontargeted TCP response. Class II MAb-targeted TcpA, if delivered with CT, enhanced the serologic response to TcpA peptides. The effectiveness of the combination of targeted TCP and CT was reduced if anti-CD40 MAb were included in the primary immunization. These data establish the need to understand the role of TCP presentation in the generation of B-cell epitopes in order to optimize TcpA-based cholera vaccines.