Oral Immunization of Rabbits with S. enterica Typhimurium Expressing Neisseria gonorrhoeae Filamentous Phage ?6 Induces Bactericidal Antibodies Against N. gonorrhoeae.
ABSTRACT: All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains whose DNA sequences have been determined possess filamentous phage DNA sequences. To ascertain if phage encoded proteins could form the basis of a gonococcal vaccine, rabbits were orally infected with S. enterica Typhimurium strain ?3987 harboring phagemid Ngo?6?fm. The elicited sera contained large quantities of anti-phage IgG and IgA antibodies that bound to the surface of N. gonorrhoeae cells, as shown by indirect fluorescent analysis and flow cytometry. The elicited sera was able to bind to several phage proteins. The sera also had bactericidal activity. These data demonstrate that N. gonorrhoeae filamentous phage can induce antibodies with anti-gonococcal activity and that phage proteins may be a candidate for vaccine development.
Project description:All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains whose DNA sequences have been determined possess filamentous phage sequences representing their full genomes. The presence of filamentous phage DNA sequences in all sequenced N. gonorrhoeae strains suggest that purified phage particles might be used as a gonococcal vaccine. To test this hypothesis, we purified filamentous Ngo?fil phages and immunized rabbits subcutaneously. The elicited sera contained large quantities of anti-phage IgG and IgA antibodies that bound to the surface of N. gonorrhoeae cells, as shown by ELISA and flow cytometry. The elicited sera bound to the structural Ngo?6fil proteins present in phage particles and to N. gonorrhoeae cells. The sera did not react with gonococcal outer membrane proteins. The sera also had bactericidal activity and blocked adhesion of gonococci to tissue culture cells. These data demonstrate that Ngo?fil phage particles can induce antibodies with anti-gonococcal activity and may be a candidate for vaccine development.
Project description:We constructed a phagemid consisting of the whole genome of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteriophage Ngo?6 cloned into a pBluescript plasmid derivative lacking the f1 origin of replication (named pBS::?6). Escherichia coli cells harboring pBS::?6 were able to produce a biologically active phagemid, Ngo?6fm, capable of infecting, integrating its DNA into the chromosome of, and producing progeny phagemids in, a variety of taxonomically distant Gram-negative bacteria, including E. coli, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria sicca, Pseudomonas sp., and Paracoccus methylutens. A derivative of pBS::?6 lacking the phage orf7 gene, a positional homolog of filamentous phage proteins that mediate the interaction between the phage and the bacterial pilus, was capable of producing phagemid particles that were able to infect E. coli, Haemophilus influenzae, N. sicca, Pseudomonas sp., and Paracoccus methylutens, indicating that Ngo?6 infects cells of these species using a mechanism that does not involve the Orf7 gene product and that Ngo?6 initiates infection through a novel process in these species. We further demonstrate that the establishment of the lysogenic state does not require an active phage integrase. Since phagemid particles were capable of infecting diverse hosts, this indicates that Ngo?6 is the first broad-host-range filamentous bacteriophage described.
Project description:All Neisseria gonorrhoeae strains contain multiple copies of integrated filamentous phage genomes with undefined structures. In this study, we sought to characterize the capsid proteins of filamentous N. gonorrhoeae bacteriophage Ngo?6 and phagemids propagated in different bacteria. The data demonstrate that purified phage contain phage-encoded structural proteins and bacterial host proteins; host proteins consistently copurified with the phage particles. The bacterial host proteins associated with the phage filament (as identified by mass spectrometry) tended to be one of the predominant outer membrane components of the host strain, plus minor additional host proteins. We were able to copurify a functional ß-lactamase, a phagemid-encoded protein, with phage filaments. We used protein modeling and immunological analysis to identify the major phage encoded structural proteins. The antigenic properties of these proteins depended on the bacterium where the phages were propagated. Polyclonal antibodies against N. gonorrhoeae phage Ngo?6 recognized phage-encoded proteins if the phage was propagated in N. gonorrhoeae or H. influenzae cells but not if it was propagated in Salmonella or E. coli. We show that the phage filaments isolated from gonococci and Haemophilus are glycosylated, and this may explain the antigenic diversity seen. Taken en toto, the data demonstrate that while the neisserial filamentous phage are similar to other Inovirus with respect to overall genomic organization, their ability to closely associate with host proteins suggests that they have unique surface properties and are secreted by a here-to-fore unknown secretory pathway.
Project description:Neisseria spp. possess four genogroups of filamentous prophages, termed Nf1 to 4. A filamentous bacteriophage from the Nf1 genogroup termed meningococcal disease-associated phage (MDA ?) is associated with clonal complexes of Neisseria meningitidis that cause invasive meningococcal disease. Recently, we recovered an isolate of Neisseria gonorrhoeae (ExNg63) from a rare case of gonococcal meningitis, and found that it possessed a region with 90% similarity to Nf1 prophages, specifically, the meningococcal MDA ?. This led to the hypothesis that the Nf1 prophage may be more widely distributed amongst the genus Neisseria. An analysis of 92 reference genomes revealed the presence of intact Nf1 prophages in the commensal species, Neisseria lactamica and Neisseria cinerea in addition to the pathogen N. gonorrhoeae. In N. gonorrhoeae, Nf1 prophages had a restricted distribution but were present in all representatives of MLST ST1918. Of the 160 phage integration sites identified, only one common insertion site was found between one isolate of N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. There was an absence of any obvious conservation of the receptor for prophage entry, PilE, suggesting that the phage may have been obtained by natural transformation. An examination of the restriction modification systems and mutated mismatch repair systems with prophage presence suggested that there was no obvious preference for these hosts. A timed phylogeny inferred that N. meningitidis was the donor of the Nf1 prophages in N. lactamica and N. gonorrhoeae. Further work is required to determine whether Nf1 prophages are active and can act as accessory colonization factors in these species.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis are closely-related bacteria that cause a significant global burden of disease. Control of gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly difficult, due to widespread antibiotic resistance. While vaccines are routinely used for N. meningitidis, no vaccine is available for N. gonorrhoeae. Recently, the outer membrane vesicle (OMV) meningococcal B vaccine, MeNZB, was reported to be associated with reduced rates of gonorrhoea following a mass vaccination campaign in New Zealand. To probe the basis for this protection, we assessed the cross-reactivity to N. gonorrhoeae of serum raised to the meningococcal vaccine Bexsero, which contains the MeNZB OMV component plus 3 recombinant antigens (Neisseria adhesin A, factor H binding protein [fHbp]-GNA2091, and Neisserial heparin binding antigen [NHBA]-GNA1030). METHODS:A bioinformatic analysis was performed to assess the similarity of MeNZB OMV and Bexsero antigens to gonococcal proteins. Rabbits were immunized with the OMV component or the 3 recombinant antigens of Bexsero, and Western blots and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to assess the generation of antibodies recognizing N. gonorrhoeae. Serum from humans immunized with Bexsero was investigated to assess the nature of the anti-gonococcal response. RESULTS:There is a high level of sequence identity between MeNZB OMV and Bexsero OMV antigens, and between the antigens and gonococcal proteins. NHBA is the only Bexsero recombinant antigen that is conserved and surfaced exposed in N. gonorrhoeae. Bexsero induces antibodies in humans that recognize gonococcal proteins. CONCLUSIONS:The anti-gonococcal antibodies induced by MeNZB-like OMV proteins could explain the previously-seen decrease in gonorrhoea following MeNZB vaccination. The high level of human anti-gonococcal NHBA antibodies generated by Bexsero vaccination may provide additional cross-protection against gonorrhoea.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae is the causative agent of gonorrhea, a disease that is restricted to humans. Complement forms a key arm of the innate immune system that combats gonococcal infections. N. gonorrhoeae uses its outer membrane porin (Por) molecules to bind the classical pathway of complement down-regulatory protein C4b-binding protein (C4bp) to evade killing by human complement. Strains of N. gonorrhoeae that resisted killing by human serum complement were killed by serum from rodent, lagomorph, and primate species, which cannot be readily infected experimentally with this organism and whose C4bp molecules did not bind to N. gonorrhoeae. In contrast, we found that Yersinia pestis, an organism that can infect virtually all mammals, bound species-specific C4bp and uniformly resisted serum complement-mediated killing by these species. Serum resistance of gonococci was restored in these sera by human C4bp. An exception was serotype Por1B-bearing gonococcal strains that previously had been used successfully in a chimpanzee model of gonorrhea that simulates human disease. Por1B gonococci bound chimpanzee C4bp and resisted killing by chimpanzee serum, providing insight into the host restriction of gonorrhea and addressing why Por1B strains, but not Por1A strains, have been successful in experimental chimpanzee infection. Our findings may lead to the development of better animal models for gonorrhea and may also have implications in the choice of complement sources to evaluate neisserial vaccine candidates.
Project description:Infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae does not induce specific immunity or immune memory. Our previous studies in a murine model of vaginal gonococcal infection showed that innate immunity governed by Th17 cells was a critical aspect of the immune response elicited by this pathogen. Herein we show that N. gonorrhoeae selectively inhibited Th1 and Th2 cells and enhanced Th17 cell development through the induction of TGF-?. Whereas Th17 responses depended on gonococcal lipooligosaccharide acting through TLR4, the inhibitory effect of N. gonorrhoeae on Th1/Th2 responses involved gonococcal Opa proteins. In vitro Th17 responses to N. gonorrhoeae could be diverted to Th1/Th2 by blockade of TGF-?, but not by blockade of IL-17. The results reveal that N. gonorrhoeae suppresses Th1/Th2-mediated adaptive immune response through mechanisms dependent on TGF-?, and that this effect can be manipulated to promote the development of adaptive immunity.
Project description:Due to the continuing emergence of multidrug resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae there is an urgent need for the development of a gonococcal vaccine. We evaluated the gonococcal Neisseria heparin binding antigen (NHBA) as a potential vaccine candidate, in terms of its sequence conservation and expression in a range of N. gonorrhoeae strains, as well as its immunogenicity and the functional activity of antibodies raised to either the full length NHBA or a C-terminal fragment of NHBA (NHBA-c). The gene encoding NHBA is highly conserved and expressed in all N. gonorrhoeae strains investigated. Recombinant NHBA is immunogenic, and mice immunized with either NHBA or NHBA-c adjuvanted with either Freund's or aluminium hydroxide (alum) generated a humoral immune response, with predominantly IgG1 antibodies. Antibodies generated by both NHBA and NHBA-c antigens promoted complement activation and mediated bacterial killing via both serum bactericidal activity and opsonophagocytic activity, with slightly higher titers seen for the NHBA-c antigen. Anti-NHBA was also able to block the functional activity of NHBA by reducing binding to heparin and adherence to cervical and urethral epithelial cells. These data suggest that the gonococcal NHBA is a promising vaccine antigen to include in a vaccine to control N. gonorrhoeae.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a bacterial pathogen responsible for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) of N. gonorrhoeae worldwide has resulted in limited therapeutic choices for this infection. Men who seek treatment often have symptomatic urethritis; in contrast, gonococcal cervicitis in women is usually minimally symptomatic, but may progress to pelvic inflammatory disease. Previously, we reported the first analysis of gonococcal transcriptome expression determined in secretions from women with cervical infection. Here, we defined gonococcal global transcriptional responses in urethral specimens from men with symptomatic urethritis and compared these with transcriptional responses in specimens obtained from women with cervical infections and in vitro-grown N. gonorrhoeae isolates. This is the first comprehensive comparison of gonococcal gene expression in infected men and women. RNA sequencing analysis revealed that 9.4% of gonococcal genes showed increased expression exclusively in men and included genes involved in host immune cell interactions, while 4.3% showed increased expression exclusively in women and included phage-associated genes. Infected men and women displayed comparable antibiotic-resistant genotypes and in vitro phenotypes, but a 4-fold higher expression of the Mtr efflux pump-related genes was observed in men. These results suggest that expression of AMR genes is programed genotypically and also driven by sex-specific environments. Collectively, our results indicate that distinct N. gonorrhoeae gene expression signatures are detected during genital infection in men and women. We propose that therapeutic strategies could target sex-specific differences in expression of antibiotic resistance genes.IMPORTANCE Recent emergence of antimicrobial resistance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae worldwide has resulted in limited therapeutic choices for treatment of infections caused by this organism. We performed global transcriptomic analysis of N. gonorrhoeae in subjects with gonorrhea who attended a Nanjing, China, sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinic, where antimicrobial resistance of N. gonorrhoeae is high and increasing. We found that N. gonorrhoeae transcriptional responses to infection differed in genital specimens taken from men and women, particularly antibiotic resistance gene expression, which was increased in men. These sex-specific findings may provide a new approach to guide therapeutic interventions and preventive measures that are also sex specific while providing additional insight to address antimicrobial resistance of N. gonorrhoeae.
Project description:Neisseria gonorrhoeae is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases worldwide with more than 100 million new infections per year. A lack of intense research over the last decades and increasing resistances to the recommended antibiotics call for a better understanding of gonococcal infection, fast diagnostics and therapeutic measures against N. gonorrhoeae. Therefore, the aim of this work was to identify novel immunogenic proteins as a first step to advance those unresolved problems. For the identification of immunogenic proteins, pHORF oligopeptide phage display libraries of the entire N. gonorrhoeae genome were constructed. Several immunogenic oligopeptides were identified using polyclonal rabbit antibodies against N. gonorrhoeae. Corresponding full-length proteins of the identified oligopeptides were expressed and their immunogenic character was verified by ELISA. The immunogenic character of six proteins was identified for the first time. Additional 13 proteins were verified as immunogenic proteins in N. gonorrhoeae.