Development of an enterotoxigenic Escherichia colivaccine based on the heat-stable toxin
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Infection with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is an important cause of diarrhea-related illness and death among children under 5 years of age in low– and middle-income countries (LMIC). Recent studies have found that it is the ETEC subtypes that produce the heat-stable enterotoxin (ST), irrespective of whether they also secrete the heat-labile enterotoxin (LT), which contribute most importantly to the disease burden in children from LMIC. Therefore, adding an ST toxoid would importantly complement ongoing ETEC vaccine development efforts. The ST’s potent toxicity, its structural similarity to the endogenous peptides guanylin and uroguanylin, and its poor immunogenicity have all complicated the advancement of ST-based vaccine development. Recent remarkable progress, however, including the unprecedented screening for optimal ST mutants, mapping of cross-reacting ST epitopes and improved ST-carrier coupling strategies (bioconjugation and genetic fusion), enables the rational design of safe, immunogenic, and well-defined ST-based vaccine candidates.