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Int Rev Immunol. 2001;20(2):229-50.

Strategies for mimicking Neisserial saccharide epitopes as vaccines.

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  • 1Evans Biomedical Research Center, Department of Medicine, Boston University, MA, USA.


Monoclonal antibody (mAb) 2C7 recognizes a conserved and widely expressed oligosaccharide (OS) epitope on Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This OS epitope evokes a significant bactericidal and opsonic immune response after natural infection and vaccination. The OS epitope structure represents an excellent target for a potential protective gonococcal vaccine. Because carbohydrate antigens are T-cell independent, inducing weak antibody responses, OS molecules are not useful immunogens. We developed and examined two different strategies to mimic the 2C7 OS epitope: (i) an anti-idiotope (mAb CA1); and (ii) a peptide (PEP-1). These surrogate immunogens elicited antibody responses in mice (CA1 and PEP-1) and rabbits (CA1) that were bactericidal in vitro against gonococci. Both CA1 and PEP-1 are true immunologic mimics of OS and may form a basis for the development of vaccine candidates for human immunization against N. gonorrhoeae.

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