Toll-like receptor 2-dependent protection against pneumococcal carriage by immunization with lipidated pneumococcal proteins.
ABSTRACT: Infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae cause substantial morbidity and mortality, particularly in children in developing nations. Polysaccharide-conjugate vaccines provide protection against both invasive disease and colonization, but their use in developing countries is limited by restricted serotype coverage and expense of manufacture. Using proteomic screens, we recently identified several antigens that protected mice from pneumococcal colonization in a CD4(+) T cell- and interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-dependent manner. Since several of these proteins are lipidated, we hypothesized that their immunogenicity and impact on colonization are in part due to activation of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), a receptor for lipoproteins. Here we show that lipidated versions of the antigens elicited significantly higher activation of both human embryonic kidney cells engineered to express TLR2 (HEK-TLR2) and wild-type (WT) murine macrophages than nonlipidated mutant antigens. Lipoprotein-stimulated secretion of proinflammatory cytokines was ?10× to ?100× lower in murine TLR2-deficient macrophages than in WT macrophages. Subcutaneous immunization of C57BL/6 mice with protein subunit vaccines containing one or two of these lipoproteins or protein fusion constructs bearing N-terminal lipid adducts elicited a robust IL-17A response and a significant reduction in colonization compared with immunization with alum alone. In contrast, immunization of Tlr2(-/-) mice elicited no detectable IL-17A response and no protection against pneumococcal colonization. These experiments suggest that the lipid moieties enhance the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of pneumococcal TH17 antigens through activation of TLR2. Thus, triggering TLR2 with an antigen-specific protein subunit formulation is a possible strategy for the development of a serotype-independent pneumococcal vaccine that would reduce pneumococcal carriage.
Project description:A pneumococcal whole-cell vaccine (WCV) confers T(H)17-mediated immunogenicity and reduces nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage in mice. Activation of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) has been shown to be important for generating T(H)17 responses, and several lipidated pneumococcal proteins have TLR2-activating properties. Here we investigated the roles of TLR2 and lipidation of proteins in WCV-induced interleukin-17A (IL-17A) responses and protection against NP carriage. Immunization of Tlr2(-/-) mice with WCV conferred significantly lower IL-17A levels and reduced protection against NP carriage, compared to wild-type (WT) mice, suggesting that host TLR2 engagement is required for effective immunity and protection elicited by WCV immunization. Using a WCV with deletion of lgt, the gene encoding the enzyme required for lipidation and membrane attachment of prolipoproteins, we show that lipidation and membrane localization of these proteins are critical for the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the WCV. To evaluate the roles of diacylglyceryl transferase (Lgt)-mediated processes in the recall of WCV-induced protective responses, we colonized WCV-immunized animals with a strain in which lgt was deleted. WCV-immunized animals still had significantly reduced colonization burdens, compared to control animals, which suggests that lipidation and membrane localization of pneumococcal prolipoproteins are less critical for the recall of the immune responses elicited by WCV immunization than for the priming of such responses. Elucidation of underlying immune mechanisms and the optimal characteristics of WCV formulations can help guide vaccine development and enhance our understanding of host-pneumococcus interactions.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of mortality in young children. While successful conjugate polysaccharide vaccines exist, a less expensive serotype-independent protein-based pneumococcal vaccine offers a major advancement for preventing life-threatening pneumococcal infections, particularly in developing nations. IL-17A-secreting CD4+ T cells (T(H)17) mediate resistance to mucosal colonization by multiple pathogens including S. pneumoniae. Screening an expression library containing >96% of predicted pneumococcal proteins, we identified antigens recognized by T(H)17 cells from mice immune to pneumococcal colonization. The identified antigens also elicited IL-17A secretion from colonized mouse splenocytes and human PBMCs suggesting that similar responses are primed during natural exposure. Immunization of two mouse strains with identified antigens provided protection from pneumococcal colonization that was significantly diminished in animals treated with blocking CD4 or IL-17A antibodies. This work demonstrates the potential of proteomic screening approaches to identify specific antigens for the design of subunit vaccines against mucosal pathogens via harnessing T(H)17-mediated immunity.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae may colonize the nasopharynx, and as pneumococcal colonization causes invasive diseases and the subsequent transmission, reducing bacterial burden in the nasal cavity is critical. Hochu-ekki-to (TJ-41) is a traditional Japanese herbal medicine that exerts immunomodulatory effects in host cells. In this study, we investigated the potency of TJ-41 in modulating pneumococcal colonization clearance by activating host immunity. Mice, intranasally inoculated with pneumococci, were treated orally with TJ-41. During colonization, TJ-41 treatment significantly reduced pneumococcal burden and increased macrophage population in the nasopharynx. Furthermore, interleukin 17A production was significantly enhanced after TJ-41 treatment. In vitro experiment using nasal-derived cells revealed that pneumococcal antigen exposure upregulated the transcription of interleukin 17A in the TJ-41-treated group compared with that in the control group. Macrophages activated by killed bacteria were significantly increased in the presence of TJ-41 in an interleukin 17A-dependent manner. Moreover, TJ-41 enhanced phagocytosis, inhibited bacterial growth, and improved the antigen-presenting capacity of macrophages. Our results demonstrate that TJ-41 accelerates the clearance of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization via macrophage activation. Subsequent production of interleukin 17A provides an additional benefit to effector cells.
Project description:The pneumococcal capsule is indispensable for pathogenesis in systemic infections; however, many pneumococcal diseases, including conjunctivitis, otitis media, and some systemic infections in immunocompromised patients, are caused by nonencapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae (NESp). Null capsule clade 1 (NCC1), found in group 2 NESp, expresses pneumococcal surface protein K (PspK) and is becoming prevalent among pneumococcal organisms owing to the widespread use of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines. Despite its clinical importance, the molecular mechanisms underlying the prevalence of NCC1 have not been fully elucidated. Here, we investigated the role of the R3 domain of PspK in the epithelial cell adherence of NCC1. We found that the R3 domain of PspK mediated NCC1 adherence via its direct interaction with the epithelial surface protein annexin A2. Additionally, neutralization with purified recombinant PspK-R3 or rabbit anti-UD:R3 IgG inhibited binding of NESp to lung epithelial cells in vitro. Immunization with the 'repeat' domain of PspK-R3 or PspK-UD:R3 effectively elicited mucosal and systemic immune responses against PspK-R3 and provided protection against nasopharyngeal, lung, and middle ear colonization of NESp in mice. Additionally, we found that rabbit anti-UD:R3 IgG bound to PspC-R1 of the encapsulated TIGR4 strain and that UD:R3 immunization provided protection against nasopharyngeal and lung colonization of TIGR4 and deaths by TIGR4 and D39 in mice. Further studies using 68 pneumococcal clinical isolates showed that 79% of clinical isolates showed cross-reactivity to rabbit anti-UD:R3 IgG. About 87% of serotypes in the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and 68% of non-vaccine serotypes were positive for cross-reactivity with rabbit anti-UD:R3 IgG. Thus, the R3 domain of PspK may be an effective vaccine candidate for both NESp and encapsulated Sp.
Project description:Pneumococcal carriage is both immunising and a pre-requisite for mucosal and systemic disease. Murine models of pneumococcal colonisation show that IL-17A-secreting CD4(+) T-cells (Th-17 cells) are essential for clearance of pneumococci from the nasopharynx. Pneumococcal-responding IL-17A-secreting CD4(+) T-cells have not been described in the adult human lung and it is unknown whether they can be elicited by carriage and protect the lung from pneumococcal infection. We investigated the direct effect of experimental human pneumococcal nasal carriage (EHPC) on the frequency and phenotype of cognate CD4(+) T-cells in broncho-alveolar lavage and blood using multi-parameter flow cytometry. We then examined whether they could augment ex vivo alveolar macrophage killing of pneumococci using an in vitro assay. We showed that human pneumococcal carriage leads to a 17.4-fold (p = 0.007) and 8-fold (p = 0.003) increase in the frequency of cognate IL-17A(+) CD4(+) T-cells in BAL and blood, respectively. The phenotype with the largest proportion were TNF(+)/IL-17A(+) co-producing CD4(+) memory T-cells (p<0.01); IFN?(+) CD4(+) memory T-cells were not significantly increased following carriage. Pneumococci could stimulate large amounts of IL-17A protein from BAL cells in the absence of carriage but in the presence of cognate CD4(+) memory T-cells, IL-17A protein levels were increased by a further 50%. Further to this we then show that alveolar macrophages, which express IL-17A receptors A and C, showed enhanced killing of opsonised pneumococci when stimulated with rhIL-17A (p = 0.013). Killing negatively correlated with RC (r = -0.9, p = 0.017) but not RA expression. We conclude that human pneumococcal carriage can increase the proportion of lung IL-17A-secreting CD4(+) memory T-cells that may enhance innate cellular immunity against pathogenic challenge. These pathways may be utilised to enhance vaccine efficacy to protect the lung against pneumonia.
Project description:Conjugate vaccines against Streptococcus pneumoniae have significantly reduced the incidence of diseases caused by the serotypes included in those vaccines; however, there is still a need for vaccines that confer serotype-independent protection. In the current study, we have constructed a library of conserved surface proteins from S. pneumoniae and have screened for IL-17A and IL-22 production in human immune cells obtained from adenoidal/tonsillar tissues of children and IL-17A production in splenocytes from mice that had been immunized with a killed whole-cell vaccine or previously exposed to pneumococcus. A positive correlation was found between the rankings of proteins from human IL-17A and IL-22 screens, but not between those from human and mouse screens. All proteins were tested for protection against colonization, and we identified protective antigens that are IL-17A dependent. We found that the likelihood of finding a protective antigen is significantly higher for groups of proteins ranked in the top 50% of all three screens than for groups of proteins ranked in the bottom 50% of all three. The results thus confirmed the value of such screens for identifying Th17 antigens. Further, these experiments have evaluated and compared the breadth of human and mouse Th17 responses to pneumococcal colonization and have enabled the identification of potential vaccine candidates based on immunological responses in mouse and human cells.
Project description:A promising alternative vaccine candidate to reduce the burden of pneumococcal diseases is the protein antigen PspA (Pneumococcal surface protein A). Since concomitant colonization with two or more pneumococcal strains is very common in children, we aimed to determine if immunization with PspA would be able to control co-colonization. We evaluated nasal immunization with recombinant PspA (rPspA) in a model of co-colonization with two strains expressing different PspAs. Mice were immunized intranasally with rPspAs from clades 1 to 4 (rPspA1, rPspA2, rPspA3 or rPspA4) using whole-cell pertussis vaccine (wP) as adjuvant. Mice were then challenged with a mixture of two serotype 6B isolates St491/00 (PspA1) and St472/96 (PspA4). Immunization with rPspA1+wP and rPspA4+wP reduced colonization with both strains and the mixture of rPspA1+rPspA4+wP induced greater reduction than a single antigen. Immunization rPspA1+rPspA4+wP also reduced colonization when challenge experiments were performed with a mixture of isolates of serotypes 6B (PspA3) and 23F (PspA2). Furthermore, none of the tested formulations led to a pronounced increase in colonization of one isolate over the other, showing that the vaccine strategy would not favor replacement. Interestingly, the adjuvant wP by itself already led to some reduction in pneumococcal colonization, indicating the induction of non-specific immune responses. Anti-rPspA IgG was observed in serum, nasal wash (NW) and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) samples, whereas animals inoculated with formulations containing the adjuvant wP (with or without rPspA) showed higher levels of IL-6 and KC in NW and increase in tissue macrophages, B cells and CD4+T cells in BALF.
Project description:Streptococcus pneumoniae remains one of the most frequent bacterial causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. National immunization programs implementing pneumococcal polysaccharide conjugate vaccines (PCVs) have successfully reduced rates of vaccine-type invasive disease and colonization both via direct effects in immunized children and, in some settings, indirect effects in unimmunized individuals. Limitations of the current PCV approach include the emergence of non-vaccine serotypes contributing to carriage and invasive disease in high-PCV coverage settings and the high cost of goods of PCVs which limits their accessibility in developing countries where the burden of disease remains highest. Furthermore, the distribution of serotypes causing disease varies geographically and includes more serotypes than are currently covered in a single PCV formulation. Researchers have long been exploring the potential of genetically conserved non-capsular pneumococcal antigens as vaccine candidates that might overcome such limitations. To better evaluate the rationale of such approaches, an understanding of the mechanisms of immunity to the various phases of pneumococcal infection is of paramount importance. Herein we will review the evolving understanding of both vaccine-induced and naturally acquired immunity to pneumococcal colonization and infection and discuss how this informs current approaches using serotype-independent pneumococcal vaccine candidates. We will then review the alternative vaccine candidates that have been or are currently under evaluation in clinical trials.
Project description:The generation of tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) is an essential aspect of immunity at mucosal surfaces, and it has been suggested that preferential generation of TRM is one of the principal advantages of mucosally administered vaccines. We have previously shown that antigen-specific, IL-17-producing CD4+ T cells can provide capsular antibody-independent protection against nasal carriage of Streptococcus pneumoniae; but whether pneumococcus-responsive TRM are localized within the nasal mucosa and are sufficient for protection from carriage has not been determined. Here, we show that intranasal administration of live or killed pneumococci to mice generates pneumococcus-responsive IL-17A-producing CD4+ mucosal TRM. Furthermore, we show that these cells are sufficient to mediate long-lived, neutrophil-dependent protection against subsequent pneumococcal nasal challenge. Unexpectedly, and in contrast with the prevailing paradigm, we found that parenteral administration of killed pneumococci also generates protective IL-17A+CD4+ TRM in the nasal mucosa. These results demonstrate a critical and sufficient role of TRM in prevention of pneumococcal colonization, and further that these cells can be generated by parenteral immunization. Our findings therefore have important implications regarding the generation of immune protection at mucosal surfaces by vaccination.
Project description:Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) and PspC are virulence factors that are involved in the adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae to epithelial cells and/or evasion from the immune system. Here, the immune responses induced by mucosal vaccines composed of both antigens as recombinant proteins or delivered by Lactobacillus casei were evaluated. None of the PspC vaccines protected mice against an invasive challenge with pneumococcal strain ATCC 6303. On the other hand, protection was observed for immunization with vaccines composed of PspA from clade 5 (PspA5 or L. casei expressing PspA5) through the intranasal route. The protective response was distinguished by a Th1 profile with high levels of immunoglobulin G2a production, efficient complement deposition, release of proinflammatory cytokines, and infiltration of neutrophils. Intranasal immunization with PspA5 elicited the highest level of protection, characterized by increased levels of secretion of interleukin-17 and gamma interferon by lung and spleen cells, respectively, and low levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha in the respiratory tract.