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Infect Immun. 2005 Feb;73(2):981-9.

PppA, a surface-exposed protein of Streptococcus pneumoniae, elicits cross-reactive antibodies that reduce colonization in a murine intranasal immunization and challenge model.

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  • 1Wyeth Vaccines Research, 401 N. Middletown Road, Bldg. 205/3104, Pearl River, NY 10965, USA. greenba@wyeth.com


The multivalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is effective against both systemic disease and otitis media caused by serotypes contained in the vaccine. However, serotypes not covered by the present conjugate vaccine may still cause pneumococcal disease. To address these serotypes, and the remaining otitis media due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, efforts have been devoted to identifying protective protein antigens. Immunity to conserved surface proteins important for adhesion, nutrient acquisition, or other functions could result in a reduction of colonization and a lower disease potential. We have been searching for conserved surface-exposed proteins from S. pneumoniae that may be involved in pathogenesis to test as vaccine candidates. Here, an approximately 20-kDa protein that has significant homology to a nonheme iron-containing ferritin protein from Listeria innocua and other bactoferritins was identified as pneumococcal protective protein A (PppA). We expressed and purified recombinant PppA (rPppA) and evaluated its potential as a vaccine candidate. The antibodies elicited by purified rPppA were cross-reactive with PppA from multiple strains of S. pneumoniae and were directed against surface-exposed epitopes. Intranasal immunization of BALB/c mice with PppA protein and either a synthetic monophosphoryl lipid A analog, RC529AF, or a cholera toxin mutant, CT-E29H, used as an adjuvant reduced nasopharyngeal colonization in mice following intranasal challenge with a heterologous pneumococcal strain. PppA-specific systemic and local immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody responses were induced. The antisera reacted with whole cells of a heterologous S. pneumoniae type 3 strain. These observations indicate that PppA may be a promising candidate for inclusion in a vaccine against pneumococcal otitis media.

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