The immunodominant and T-cell epitopes within the fimbrial subunit protein (fimbrilin) of strain 381 were analysed by multi-pin peptide synthesis technology. Six regions with immunodominant epitopes within a sequence of 337 amino acids that reacted with the serum of patients with adult periodontitis were detected. T cells from mice immunised with fimbriae exhibited proliferative responses to fimbriae or to six 10-mer synthetic peptides from the amino-acid sequence of the fimbrillin. Three synthetic peptides that contained the regions responsible for the immunodominant epitopes as well as those which coincided with a T-cell epitope of fimbrial molecules—FP381(142-161), FP381(202-221) and FP381(216-243)—were selected and synthesised. When guinea-pigs were immunised with fimbriae or one of the three synthetic peptide segments and an adjuvant in Freund's incomplete adjuvant, enhanced production of the antigen-specific IgG antibodies was induced in the serum of the animals. Furthermore, of the three synthetic peptides tested, FP381(202-221) produced the greatest protective immune response in guinea-pigs infected with and this was more effective than the native fimbrial protein.


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