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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2009 May;16(5):653-9. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00460-08. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Identification of domains of the Hag/MID surface protein recognized by systemic and mucosal antibodies in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease following clearance of Moraxella catarrhalis.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


Moraxella catarrhalis is a common cause of respiratory tract infection in the setting of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Adults with COPD acquire and clear strains of M. catarrhalis from the respiratory tract continuously and develop strain-specific protection following clearance of a strain. In previous work, we identified Hag/MID (Moraxella immunoglobulin D-binding protein), a large multifunctional surface protein that acts as an adhesin and hemagglutinin, as a target of antibody responses in adults with COPD after clearance of M. catarrhalis. The goal of the present study was to characterize the domains of Hag/MID to which humans make antibodies, including both systemic and mucosal antibody responses. Analysis of recombinant peptide constructs, which spanned the M. catarrhalis strain O35E Hag/MID protein, with well-characterized serum and sputum samples revealed that most adults with COPD made antibodies directed toward a region of the molecule bounded by amino acids 706 to 863. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA purified from sputum both recognized the same domain. Some flanking sequence of this fragment was necessary for the epitope(s) in this region to maintain its conformation to bind human antibodies. These results reveal that humans consistently generate both systemic and mucosal antibody responses to an immunodominant region of the Hag/MID molecule, which was previously shown to overlap with several biologically relevant domains, including epithelial cell adherence, IgD binding, collagen binding, and hemagglutination.

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