Identification of novel antigens that protect against systemic meningococcal infection.
Sun Y., Li Y., Exley RM., Winterbotham M., Ison C., Smith H., Tang CM.
Systemic infection with Neisseria meningitidis leads to a devastating, septicaemic illness with a high mortality, particularly in children. Currently, there are no vaccines to prevent disease caused by strains of N. meningitidis serogroup B, the commonest isolate in developed countries. Here, we describe the identification of vaccine candidates that protect mice against lethal challenge with this bacterium. A total 11 meningococcal proteins that are necessary for establishing systemic infection were expressed as recombinant antigens and assessed for their ability to protect animals against live bacterial challenge; the lactate permease (LctP) and ExbB, which is required for iron acquisition, elicited protective immunity. Both LctP and ExbB are expressed by a wide range of pathogenic isolates of N. meningitidis. Targeting bacterial factors required for pathogenesis may lead to new vaccines to protect individuals from this important human pathogen.