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Infect Immun. 2011 Aug;79(8):3455-64. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00157-11. Epub 2011 May 31.

Efficacy of a conjugate vaccine containing polymannuronic acid and flagellin against experimental Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in mice.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Vaccines that could effectively prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa pulmonary infections in the settings of cystic fibrosis (CF) and nosocomial pneumonia could be exceedingly useful, but to date no effective immunotherapy targeting this pathogen has been successfully developed for routine use in humans. Evaluations using animals and limited human trials of vaccines and their associated immune effectors against different P. aeruginosa antigens have suggested that antibody to the conserved surface polysaccharide alginate, as well as the flagellar proteins, often give high levels of protection. However, alginate itself does not elicit protective antibody in humans, and flagellar vaccines containing the two predominant serotypes of this antigen may not provide sufficient coverage against variant flagellar types. To evaluate if combining these antigens in a conjugate vaccine would be potentially efficacious, we conjugated polymannuronic acid (PMA), containing the blocks of mannuronic acid conserved in all P. aeruginosa alginates, to type a flagellin (FLA) and evaluated immunogenicity, opsonic killing activity, and passive protective efficacy in mice. The PMA-FLA conjugate was highly immunogenic in mice and rabbits and elicited opsonic antibodies against mucoid but not nonmucoid P. aeruginosa, but nonetheless rabbit antibody to PMA-FLA showed evidence of protective efficacy against both types of this organism in a mouse lung infection model. Importantly, the PMA-FLA conjugate vaccine did not elicit antibodies that neutralized the Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5)-activating activity of flagellin, an important part of innate immunity to flagellated microbial pathogens. Conjugation of PMA to FLA appears to be a promising path for developing a broadly protective vaccine against P. aeruginosa.

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