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      Identification and characterization of a cDNA clone-encoding antigen of Eimeria acervulina.


      immunology, Amino Acid Sequence, Vaccines, DNA, Recombinant Proteins, prevention & control, parasitology, Poultry Diseases, Molecular Sequence Data, blood, Immunoglobulin G, Gene Library, Gene Expression Regulation, Gene Expression Profiling, genetics, Eimeria, DNA, Complementary, Cytokines, veterinary, Coccidiosis, Chickens, Base Sequence, chemistry, Antigens, Protozoan, Antibodies, Protozoan, Animals

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          Eimeria spp. are the causative agents of coccidiosis, a major disease affecting the poultry industry. So far, only a few antigen genes of E. acervulina have been reported. In this study, a clone, named as cSZ-JN2, was identified from a cDNA expression library prepared from E. acervulina sporozoite stage with the ability to stimulate the chicken immune response. The sequence analysis showed that the open reading fragment (ORF) of cSZ-JN2 was 153 bp in size and encoded a predicted protein of 50 amino acids of Mr 5·3 kDa. BLASTN search revealed that cSZ-JN2 had no significant homology with the known genes of E. acervulina or any other organism (GenBank). The recombinant cSZ-JN2 antigen expressed in E. coli was recognized strongly by serum from chickens experimentally infected with E. acervulina. Immunofluorescence analysis using antibody against recombinant cSZ-JN2 indicated that this protein was expressed in sporozoite and merozoite developmental stages. Animal challenge experiments demonstrated that the recombinant protein of cSZ-JN2 and DNA vaccine carrying cSZ-JN2 could significantly increase the average body weight gains, decrease the mean lesion scores and the oocyst outputs of the immunized chickens and presented anti-coccidial indices of more than 165. All the above results suggested that the cSZ-JN2 was a novel E. acervulina antigen and could be an effective candidate for the development of a new vaccine against E. acervulina infection.

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