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Vaccine. 2012 Jan 5;30(2):155-60. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.050. Epub 2011 Nov 19.

Capsule null locus meningococci: typing of antigens used in an investigational multicomponent meningococcus serogroup B vaccine.

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  • 1University of Würzburg, Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology, Würzburg, Germany.


The investigational multicomponent meningococcus serogroup B vaccine (4CMenB) targets the antigenetically variable population of serogroup B meningococci. Forty-one strains of capsule null locus (cnl) meningococci, which are frequent among healthy carriers, were selected from nine sequence types (ST), which belong to four clonal complexes (cc), and three countries. They were antigen sequence typed and analyzed for antigen expression to predict whether these strains harbor the genes and express the four vaccine antigens of 4CMenB as measured by the meningococcal antigen typing system (MATS). The PorA variant used in the vaccine was not found. The nadA gene was absent in all but one strain, which did not express the antigen in vitro. Only strains of clonal complex ST-198 harbored a factor H binding protein (FHBP) allele of the cross-reactive variant 1 family which is included in the vaccine. All these strains expressed the antigen. Five variants of the Neisserial heparin binding antigen (NHBA) gene were identified. Expression of NHBA was observed in all strains with highest levels in ST-198 cc and ST-845. The data suggest a potential impact of 4CMenB immunization at least on cnl meningococci of the ST-198 cc and ST-845.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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