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Infect Immun. 2003 Oct;71(10):5724-32.

Serum immunoglobulin G response to candidate vaccine antigens during experimental human pneumococcal colonization.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


The immune response to pneumococcal surface structures during colonization was examined in a model of experimental human pneumococcal carriage. Healthy uncolonized adults were given a type 23F or 6B pneumococcus, and a portion of these subjects became colonized (6 of 14 with type 23F and 6 of 8 with type 6B). Sera from colonized and uncolonized subjects were used to determine the titer of antibody specific to pneumococcal surface components under consideration in development of noncapsular polysaccharide-based vaccines. These vaccine candidates included pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA), choline binding protein A (CbpA), lipoteichoic acid, immunoglobulin A1 (IgA1) protease, pneumolysin, proteinase maturation protein A, and pneumococcal surface adhesin A. Only the two related choline binding proteins, PspA and CbpA, were immunogenic in colonized subjects as determined by a statistically significant rise in the serum IgG titer. The serum IgG response to PspA was shown previously to correlate inversely with susceptibility to carriage and was localized to a region within the N-terminal portion of PspA. This region is highly variable in amino acid sequence between pneumococcal strains. Despite the sequence diversity in the immunodominant regions of both PspA and CbpA, a significant strain-to-strain cross-reactivity in the serum IgG response following experimental human carriage was observed. These findings support the need for further investigation of the human antibody response to PspA and CbpA and the potential use of one or both of these proteins as novel vaccine antigens for the prevention of pneumococcal colonization.

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