Antibodies raised against four hybrid flagellins carrying amino acid sequences derived from the fimbrial subunit of the colonization factor I antigen (CFA/I) of enterotoxigenic (ETEC), i.e. hybrid flagellins Fla I (aa 1-15), Fla II (aa 11-25), Fla III (aa 32-45) and Fla IV (aa 88-102), were not able to inhibit the binding of CFA/I-expressing ETEC bacteria to enterocyte-like Caco-2 cells. However, one of the hybrid flagellins (Fla II) was recognized by a previously described anti-CFA/I subunit mAb (S-CFA/I 17:8) which was able to block adhesion of CFA/l-expressing bacteria to Caco-2 cells and to bind to the amino acid sequence IDLLQ of the CFA/I fimbrial subunit. Pepscan analysis of antibodies raised against the hybrid flagellins Fla II and Fla IV showed that they were specific for the sequences VIDLL and FEAAAL, respectively, of the CFA/I fimbrial subunit. Thus, the discrepancy in the abilities of the anti-Fla II serum and the mAb S-CFA/I 17:8 to block binding might be ascribed to their slightly different fine specificity for epitopes.


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