Helicobacter pylori is a major cause of gastric-associated diseases. To evaluate the efficacy of a possible vaccine antigen against H. pylori infection, the chimaeric construct adhesin–CTXA2B, derived from H. pylori adhesin genetically coupled to cholera toxin (CTX) subunits A2 and B (CTXA2B), was expressed in Escherichia coli as an insoluble recombinant chimaeric protein. The protein was then purified by denaturation, renaturation and size-exclusion chromatography. The composition of purified adhesin–CTXA2B was verified by SDS/PAGE and Western blotting with antibodies to antigenic components of adhesin and CTXB, and confirmed as a chimaeric protein with GM1-ganglioside binding activity and adhesin epitopes by a GM1-ELISA developed using antibodies to adhesin. Oral immunization of mice with adhesin–CTXA2B induced higher levels of mucosal IgA and serum IgG antibodies to H. pylori adhesin and to CTXB than in mice immunized with adhesin or CTXA2B alone. Adhesin–CTXA2B was also demonstrated to be a potential protective antigen in a mouse model of H. pylori infection. The immunization of mice with adhesin–CTXA2B protected 62.5% of mice infected with H. pylori SS1 strain, whereas adhesin immunization was not able to confer protection to mice. This protection may be correlated with high levels of mucosal IgA and serum IgG antibodies against H. pylori adhesin. Taken together, the results indicate that the genetically linked CTXA2B acts as a useful mucosal adjuvant, and that the adhesin–CTXA2B chimaeric protein could be a potential component in future H. pylori vaccine development.

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