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Infect Immun. 2012 Mar;80(3):1166-80. doi: 10.1128/IAI.05511-11. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

Mucosal immunization with an unadjuvanted vaccine that targets Streptococcus pneumoniae PspA to human Fcγ receptor type I protects against pneumococcal infection through complement- and lactoferrin-mediated bactericidal activity.

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Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York, USA.


Targeting an antigen to Fc receptors (FcR) can enhance the immune response to the antigen in the absence of adjuvant. Furthermore, we recently demonstrated that intranasal immunization with an FcγR-targeted antigen enhances protection against a category A intracellular mucosal pathogen, Francisella tularensis. To determine if a similar strategy could be applied to the important pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae, we used an improved mucosal FcR-targeting strategy that specifically targets human FcγR type I (hFcγRI). A humanized single-chain antibody component in which the variable domain binds to hFcγRI [anti-hFcγRI (H22)] was linked in a fusion protein with the pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA). PspA is known to elicit protection against pneumococcal sepsis, carriage, and pneumonia in mouse models when administered with adjuvants. Anti-hFcγRI-PspA or recombinant PspA (rPspA) alone was used to intranasally immunize wild-type (WT) and hFcγRI transgenic (Tg) mice in the absence of adjuvant. The hFcγRI Tg mice receiving anti-hFcγRI-PspA exhibited elevated S. pneumoniae-specific IgA, IgG2c, and IgG1 antibodies in serum and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Neither immunogen was effective in protecting WT mice in the absence of adjuvant, but when PspA was targeted to hFcγRI as the anti-hFcγRI-PspA fusion, enhanced protection against lethal S. pneumoniae challenge was observed in the hFcγRI Tg mice compared to mice given nontargeted rPspA alone. Immune sera from the anti-hFcγRI-PspA-immunized Tg mice showed enhanced complement C3 deposition on bacterial surfaces, and protection was dependent upon an active complement system. Immune serum also showed an enhanced bactericidal activity directed against S. pneumoniae that appears to be lactoferrin mediated.

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