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J Infect Dis. 1991 Jan;163(1):128-34.

Human immunization with Pgh 3-2 gonococcal pilus results in cross-reactive antibody to the cyanogen bromide fragment-2 of pilin.

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Department of Medicine, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC 20307-5001.


In 1983, a gonococcal pilus vaccine failed to show protection in a large, placebo-controlled, double-blind field trial. The epitopic response to this vaccine was investigated in a random subgroup of 20 vaccine recipients. Using Western blot analysis of the immunizing pilus and its cyanogen bromide (CNBr) fragments, IgG antibody to pilin was detected before immunization in all individuals. Preexistent antibody to the CNBr-2 and CNBr-3 fragments of pilin was detected in 65% and 5% of individuals, respectively. Pilus immunization resulted in a vigorous response to the CNBr-2 fragment in 100% of the individuals tested; only 33% developed antibody to the CNBr-3 fragment. Absorptions of postimmunization sera with different gonococcal strains resulted in either complete or partial removal of antibody to the CNBr-2 fragment. In the context of an unsuccessful vaccine trial, these results suggest that antibody to the CNBr-2 fragment of pilin may not be protective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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