Transcytosis of F4 fimbriae by villous and dome epithelia in F4-receptor positive pigs supports importance of receptor-dependent endocytosis in oral immunization strategies
Snoeck, Veerle × Van den Broeck, Wim De Colvenaer, Veerle Verdonck, Frank Goddeeris, Bruno Cox, Eric #
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology vol:124 pages:29-40
Very few antigens have been described that induce an intestinal immunity when given orally. Our laboratory demonstrated that oral administration of isolated F4 (K88) fimbriae of Escherichia coli to F4-receptor positive (F4R(+)) pigs induces protective mucosal immunity against challenge infection. However, presence of F4-receptors (F4R) on villous enterocytes is a prerequisite for inducing the immune response, as no F4-specific antibody-secreting cells (ASC) can be induced in F4R(-) pigs. In this study, the in vivo binding of isolated F4 fimbriae (F4) to the gut epithelium was examined in F4R(+) and F4R(-) pigs. It was further investigated whether binding of F4 to the F4R results in endocytosis in and translocation across the gut epithelium using microscopy. F4 did not adhere to the intestinal epithelium of F4R(-) pigs, whereas it strongly adhered to the villous epithelium and the follicle-associated epithelium (FAE) of the jejunum and ileum of F4R(+) pigs. Following binding to F4R, F4 was endocytosed by villous enterocytes, follicle-associated enterocytes and M cells. Transcytosis of F4 across the epithelium resulted in the appearance of F4 in the lamina propria and dome region of the jejunal and ileal PP. This is the first study showing transcytosis of fimbriae across the gut epithelium. This receptor-dependent transcytosis can explain the success of F4 fimbriae as oral immunogen for inducing protective immunity in F4R(+) pigs strengthening the importance of receptor-dependent endocytosis and translocation in oral vaccine strategies. Further identification of the receptor responsible for this transport is in progress.