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Microbiology. 2011 Dec;157(Pt 12):3429-34. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.053207-0. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Identification of SagA as a novel vaccine target for the prevention of Enterococcus faecium infections.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


Infections caused by multiresistant Gram-positive bacteria represent a major health burden in the community as well as in hospitalized patients. Enterococci, especially Enterococcus faecium, are well-known pathogens of hospitalized patients and are frequently linked with resistance against multiple antibiotics, which compromises effective therapy. Rabbit immune serum raised against heat-killed E. faecium E155, a HiRECC clone, was used in an opsonophagocytic assay, an inhibition assay and a mouse bacteraemia model to identify targets of opsonic and protective antibodies. Serum against whole heat-killed bacteria was opsonic and recognized a protein of about 72 kDa that was abundantly secreted. This protein, identified as SagA by LC-ES-MS/MS, was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Rabbit serum raised against the purified protein showed opsonic killing activity that was inhibited by almost 100% using 100 µg purified protein ml(-1). In a mouse bacteraemia model, a statistically significant reduction of the colony counts in blood was shown with immune rabbit serum compared with preimmune serum using the homologous and a heterologous vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) strain. These results indicate that SagA could be used as a promising vaccine target to treat and/or prevent VRE bacteraemia.

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