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Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Sep;20(9):914-21. Epub 2002 Aug 12.

Previously unrecognized vaccine candidates against group B meningococcus identified by DNA microarrays.

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Chiron SpA, Via Fiorentina 1, 53100 Siena, Italy.


We have used DNA microarrays to follow Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MenB) gene regulation during interaction with human epithelial cells. Host-cell contact induced changes in the expression of 347 genes, more than 30% of which encode proteins with unknown function. The upregulated genes included transporters of iron, chloride, amino acids, and sulfate, many virulence factors, and the entire pathway of sulfur-containing amino acids. Approximately 40% of the 189 upregulated genes coded for peripherally located proteins, suggesting that cell contact promoted a substantial reorganization of the cell membrane. This was confirmed by fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis on adhering bacteria using mouse sera against twelve adhesion-induced proteins. Of the 12 adhesion-induced surface antigens, 5 were able to induce bactericidal antibodies in mice, demonstrating that microarray technology is a valid approach for identifying new vaccine candidates and nicely complements other genome mining strategies used for vaccine discovery.

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