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Infect Immun. 1996 Sep;64(9):3518-23.

Experimental vaccination against group B streptococcus, an encapsulated bacterium, with highly purified preparations of cell surface proteins Rib and alpha.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Lund University, Sweden.


Encapsulated bacteria cause some of the most common diseases in humans. Although the polysaccharide capsules of these pathogens have attracted the most attention with regard to vaccine development, recent evidence suggests that bacterial surface proteins may also be used to confer protective immunity. We have analyzed this possibility in group B streptococcus (GBS), an encapsulated bacterium that is the major cause of invasive bacterial disease in the neonatal period. Previous work has shown that the majority of GBS strains causing invasive infections express the Rib protein, and that most strains lacking Rib express a protein designated alpha. Here we report that active immunization with highly purified preparations of Rib or alpha protected mice against lethal infection with strains expressing the corresponding protein. Vaccination with the Rib protein protected against two strains of capsular type III and two strains of type II, and vaccination with the alpha protein protected against one strain of type II and one strain of type Ib. The mice vaccinated with Rib or alpha showed a good immunoglobulin G response to the immunogen. These data suggest that a vaccine against GBS disease may be based on cell surface proteins and support the notion that proteins may be used for immunization against encapsulated bacteria.

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