Genetic distribution of noncapsular meningococcal group B vaccine antigens in Neisseria lactamica.
Lucidarme J., Gilchrist S., Newbold LS., Gray SJ., Kaczmarski EB., Richardson L., Bennett JS., Maiden MCJ., Findlow J., Borrow R.
The poor immunogenicity of the meningococcal serogroup B (MenB) capsule has led to the development of vaccines targeting subcapsular antigens, in particular the immunodominant and diverse outer membrane porin, PorA. These vaccines are largely strain specific; however, they offer limited protection against the diverse MenB-associated diseases observed in many industrialized nations. To broaden the scope of its protection, the multicomponent vaccine (4CMenB) incorporates a PorA-containing outer membrane vesicle (OMV) alongside relatively conserved recombinant protein components, including factor H-binding protein (fHbp), Neisseria adhesin A (NadA), and neisserial heparin-binding antigen (NHBA). The expression of PorA is unique to meningococci (Neisseria meningitidis); however, many subcapsular antigens are shared with nonpathogenic members of the genus Neisseria that also inhabit the nasopharynx. These organisms may elicit cross-protective immunity against meningococci and/or occupy a niche that might otherwise accommodate pathogens. The potential for 4CMenB responses to impact such species (and vice versa) was investigated by determining the genetic distribution of the primary 4CMenB antigens among diverse members of the common childhood commensal, Neisseria lactamica. All the isolates possessed nhba but were devoid of fhbp and nadA. The nhba alleles were mainly distinct from but closely related to those observed among a representative panel of invasive MenB isolates from the same broad geographic region. We made similar findings for the immunogenic typing antigen, FetA, which constitutes a major part of the 4CMenB OMV. Thus, 4CMenB vaccine responses may impact or be impacted by nasopharyngeal carriage of commensal neisseriae. This highlights an area for further research and surveillance should the vaccine be routinely implemented.