Colibacillosis accounts for annual multimillion dollar losses in the poultry industry, and control of this disease is hampered by limited understanding of the virulence mechanisms used by avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC). Previous work in our laboratory has found that the presence of the increased serum survival gene (iss) is strongly associated with APEC but not commensal E. coli, making iss and the protein it encodes (Iss) candidate targets of colibacillosis-control procedures. Previously, we produced monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against Iss to be used as a reagent in studies of APEC virulence and colibacillosis pathogenesis. Unfortunately, the utility of these MAbs was limited because these MAbs exhibited nonspecific binding. It was thought that the lack of specificity might be related to the fact that these MAbs were of the immunoglobulin M (IgM) isotype. In the present study, new MAbs were produced using a different immunization strategy in an effort to generate MAbs of a different isotype. Also, because Iss bears strong similarity to Bor, a lambda-derived protein that occurs commonly among E. coli, MAbs were assessed for their ability to distinguish Iss and Bor. For these studies, the bor gene from an APEC isolate was cloned into an expression vector. The fusion protein expressed from this construct was used to assess the potential of the anti-Iss MAbs produced in the past and present studies to distinguish Bor and Iss. The MAbs produced in this study were of the IgG1 isotype, which appeared to bind more specifically to Iss than previously generated antibodies in certain immunologic procedures. These results suggested that the MAbs generated in this study might prove superior to the previous MAbs as a reagent for study of APEC. However, both MAbs recognized recombinant Iss and Bor, suggesting that any results obtained using anti-Iss MAbs would need to be interpreted with this cross-reactivity in mind.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3