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Vaccine. 2012 Jul 6;30(32):4849-58. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.05.006. Epub 2012 May 23.

Fine specificity and cross-reactions of monoclonal antibodies to group B streptococcal capsular polysaccharide type III.

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  • 1Research Institute for Children, Children's Hospital, New Orleans, LA 70118, United States.


Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a major cause of neonatal sepsis and meningitis. Despite aggressive campaigns using antenatal prophylactic antibiotic therapy, infections continue. Developing an effective maternal vaccine is a public health priority. Antibody (Ab) to the capsular polysaccharide (CPS) is considered the dominant "protective" immune mediator. Here we study the fine specificity and potential host reactivity of a panel of well-characterized murine monoclonal Abs against the type III CPS by examining the binding of the Abs to intact and neuraminidase-digested GBS, purified CPS, synthetic carbohydrate structures, and cells. The results showed marked differences in the fine specificity among these mAbs to a single carbohydrate structure. Cross-reactions with synthetic GD3 and GT3 carbohydrates, representing structures found on surfaces of neural and developing cells, were demonstrated using carbohydrate array technology. The anti-CPS(III) mAbs did not react with cells expressing GD3 and GT3, nor did mAbs specific for the host carbohydrates cross-react with GBS, raising questions about the physiological relevance of this cross-reaction. But in the process of these investigations, we serendipitously demonstrated cross-reactions of some anti-CPS(III) mAbs with antigens, likely carbohydrates, found on human leukocytes. These studies suggest caution in the development of a maternal vaccine to prevent infection by this important human pathogen.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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