1Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164, USA.
Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most important causes of foodborne gastroenteritis. Chickens are considered a reservoir host of C. jejuni, and epidemiological studies have shown that contaminated chicken meat is a primary source of human infection. The objective of this study was to produce chicken egg-yolk-derived antibody (IgY) against the five C. jejuni colonization-associated proteins or CAPs (CadF, FlaA, MOMP, FlpA, and CmeC). Recombinant C. jejuni CAPs were expressed in Escherichia coli and were purified by affinity chromatography. Specific-pathogen-free laying hens were hyperimmunized with each recombinant CAP to induce production of α-CAP-specific IgY. Egg yolks were collected from immunized and nonimmunized hens and were lyophilized to obtain egg-yolk powder (EYP) with or without α-C. jejuni CAP-specific IgY. IgY was purified from EYP, and the antibody response in serum and egg yolk was tested by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The α-C. jejuni CAP-specific IgY levels were significantly (p<0.05) higher in both serum and EYP obtained from immunized hens as compared with the nonimmunized hens. Each α-C. jejuni CAP-specific IgY reacted with the C. jejuni cells and recombinant CAPs as detected by immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blot assays, respectively. We also show that α-CadF, α-MOMP, and α-CmeC IgY significantly reduced adherence of C. jejuni to the chicken hepatocellular carcinoma (LMH) cells, suggesting that these α-C. jejuni CAP-specific IgY may be useful as a passive immunotherapeutic to reduce C. jejuni colonization in chickens.