Infection and immunity

Immunization with the Haemophilus ducreyi hemoglobin receptor HgbA with adjuvant monophosphoryl lipid A protects swine from a homologous but not a heterologous challenge.

PMID 20584974


Haemophilus ducreyi, the etiological agent of chancroid, has a strict requirement for heme, which it acquires from its only natural host, humans. Previously, we showed that a vaccine preparation containing the native hemoglobin receptor HgbA purified from H. ducreyi class I strain 35000HP (nHgbAI) and administered with Freund's adjuvant provided complete protection against a homologous challenge. In the current study, we investigated whether nHgbAI dispensed with monophosphoryl lipid A (MPL), an adjuvant approved for use in humans, offered protection against a challenge with H. ducreyi strain 35000HP expressing either class I or class II HgbA (35000HPhgbAI and 35000HPhgbAII, respectively). Pigs immunized with the nHgbAI/MPL vaccine were protected against a challenge from homologous H. ducreyi strain 35000HPhgbAI but not heterologous strain 35000HPhgbAII, as evidenced by the isolation of only strain 35000HPhgbAII from nHgbAI-immunized pigs. Furthermore, histological analysis of the lesions showed striking differences between mock-immunized and nHgbAI-immunized animals challenged with strains 35000HPhgbAI but not those challenged with strain 35000HPhgbAII. Mock-immunized pigs were not protected from a challenge by either strain. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) activity of the nHgbAI/MPL antiserum was lower than the activity of antiserum from animals immunized with the nHgbAI/Freund's vaccine; however, anti-nHgbAI from both studies bound whole cells of 35000HPhgbAI better than 35000HPhgbAII and partially blocked hemoglobin binding to nHgbAI. In conclusion, despite eliciting lower antibody ELISA activity than the nHgbAI/Freund's, the nHgbAI/MPL vaccine provided protection against a challenge with homologous but not heterologous H. ducreyi, suggesting that a bivalent HgbA vaccine may be needed.