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Microbiology. 2001 Nov;147(Pt 11):2885-95.

Role of the polymorphic region 1 of the Bordetella pertussis protein pertactin in immunity.

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Research Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


In several countries pertussis is re-emerging, despite a high vaccination coverage. It is suggested that antigenic divergence between Bordetella pertussis vaccine strains and circulating strains, in particular with respect to pertactin, has contributed to pertussis re-emergence. Polymorphism in pertactin is essentially limited to region 1, which is composed of repeats and is located adjacent to an Arg-Gly-Asp motif implicated in adherence. Evidence is provided for the immunological relevance of polymorphism in region 1. Region 1 was found to contain a B-cell epitope recognized in both humans and mice. Furthermore, variation in region 1 affected antibody binding and, in a mouse respiratory infection model, the efficacy of a whole-cell vaccine. Moreover, passive and active immunization indicated that region 1 confers protective immunity. An mAb directed against a linear conserved epitope conferred cross-immunity against isolates with distinct pertactin variants. The results indicate an important role of region 1 of pertactin in immunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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