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Infect Immun. 2000 Jul;68(7):4180-8.

The putative proteinase maturation protein A of Streptococcus pneumoniae is a conserved surface protein with potential to elicit protective immune responses.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Sophia Children's Hospital, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Surface-exposed proteins often play an important role in the interaction between pathogenic bacteria and their host. We isolated a pool of hydrophobic, surface-associated proteins of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The opsonophagocytic activity of hyperimmune serum raised against this protein fraction was high and species specific. Moreover, the opsonophagocytic activity was independent of the capsular type and chromosomal genotype of the pneumococcus. Since the opsonophagocytic activity is presumed to correlate with in vivo protection, these data indicate that the protein fraction has the potential to elicit species-specific immune protection with cross-protection against various pneumococcal strains. Individual proteins in the extract were purified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Antibodies raised against three distinct proteins contributed to the opsonophagocytic activity of the serum. The proteins were identified by mass spectrometry and N-terminal amino acid sequencing. Two proteins were the previously characterized pneumococcal surface protein A and oligopeptide-binding lipoprotein AmiA. The third protein was the recently identified putative proteinase maturation protein A (PpmA), which showed homology to members of the family of peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerases. Immunoelectron microscopy demonstrated that PpmA was associated with the pneumococcal surface. In addition, PpmA was shown to elicit species-specific opsonophagocytic antibodies that were cross-reactive with various pneumococcal strains. This antibody cross-reactivity was in line with the limited sequence variation of ppmA. The importance of PpmA in pneumococcal pathogenesis was demonstrated in a mouse pneumonia model. Pneumococcal ppmA-deficient mutants showed reduced virulence. The properties of PpmA reported here indicate its potential for inclusion in multicomponent protein vaccines.

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