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The Neisseria gonorrhoeae Vaccine Candidate NHBA Elicits Antibodies That Are Bactericidal, Opsonophagocytic and That Reduce Gonococcal Adherence to Epithelial Cells.


ABSTRACT: 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.

SUBMITTER: Semchenko EA 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7349534 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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