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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2002 Sep 6;34(1):9-15.

Analysis of Neisseria lactamica antigens putatively implicated in acquisition of natural immunity to Neisseria meningitidis.

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Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Sera from healthy human volunteers, patients convalescent from meningococcal meningitis, and mice immunized with outer membrane proteins from Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria lactamica strains were used to analyze and identify antigens cross-reactive to both neisserial species. All classes of meningococcal proteins except class 1 (PorA) and class 5 cross-reacted with N. lactamica proteins and two other proteins of 65 and 55 kDa (an iron-regulated protein). Results obtained with the mouse sera demonstrate that cross-reactive antibodies can be elicited by either N. meningitidis or N. lactamica. These results support the suggestion that N. lactamica contributes to the development of natural immunity against N. meningitidis during the first years of life. The use of vaccines containing proteins other than PorA could interfere in colonization of mucosal surfaces by N. lactamica, hampering the natural mechanisms of immunity acquisition in humans. Only convalescent sera reacted with the 55 and 65 kDa proteins, which suggests that they might be relevant for pathogenicity.

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