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Vaccine. 2013 Nov 4;31(46):5451-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2013.08.099. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Meningococcal factor H-binding protein vaccines with decreased binding to human complement factor H have enhanced immunogenicity in human factor H transgenic mice.

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Center for Immunobiology and Vaccine Development, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland, CA 94609, USA.


Factor H-binding protein (fHbp) is a component of a meningococcal vaccine recently licensed in Europe for prevention of serogroup B disease, and a second vaccine in clinical development. The protein specifically binds human factor H (fH), which down-regulates complement activation and enhances resistance to bactericidal activity. There are conflicting data from studies in human fH transgenic mice on whether binding of human fH to fHbp vaccines decreases immunogenicity, and whether mutant fHbp vaccines with decreased fH binding have enhanced immunogenicity. fHbp can be classified into two sub-families based on sequence divergence and immunologic cross-reactivity. Previous studies of mutant fHbp vaccines with low fH binding were from sub-family B, which account for approximately 60% of serogroup B case isolates. In the present study, we evaluated the immunogenicity of two mutant sub-family A fHbp vaccines containing single substitutions, T221A or D211A, which resulted in 15- or 30-fold lower affinity for human fH, respectively, than the corresponding control wild-type fHbp vaccine. In transgenic mice with high serum concentrations of human fH, both mutant vaccines elicited significantly higher IgG titers and higher serum bactericidal antibody responses than the control fHbp vaccine that bound human fH. Thus, mutations introduced into a sub-family A fHbp antigen to decrease fH binding can increase protective antibody responses in human fH transgenic mice. Collectively the data suggest that mutant fHbp antigens with decreased fH binding will result in superior vaccines in humans.


Animal model; Bactericidal; Mutant fHbp vaccine; Sub-family A; Variant group 2; fH; fHbp

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