Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI

Correlation between in vitro complement deposition and passive mouse protection of anti-pneumococcal surface protein A monoclonal antibodies.

PMID 25410204


The shortcomings of the licensed polysaccharide-based pneumococcal vaccine are driving efforts toward development of a protein-based vaccine that is serotype independent and effective in all age groups. An opsonophagocytic killing assay (OPKA) is used to evaluate the antibody response against polysaccharide-based pneumococcal vaccines. However, the OPKA is not reliable for noncapsular antigens. Thus, there is a need to develop an in vitro surrogate for protection for protein vaccine candidates like pneumococcal surface antigen A (PspA). PspA is a serologically variable cell surface virulence factor. Based on its sequence, PspA has been classified into families 1 (clade 1 and 2), 2 (clades 3, 4 and 5), and 3 (clade 6). Here, we report the characterization of 18 IgG anti-PspA monoclonal antibodies (anti-PspA(hkR36A) MAbs) generated from mice immunized with heat-killed strain R36A (clade 2). An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based analysis of the reactivity of the MAbs with recombinant PspAs from the 6 clades indicated that they were family 1 specific. This was confirmed by flow cytometry using a hyperimmune serum generated against PspA from R36A. Eight MAbs that bind at least one clade 1- and clade 2-expressing strain were evaluated for complement deposition, bactericidal activity, and passive protection. The anti-PspA(hkR36A) MAb-dependent deposition of complement on pneumococci showed a positive correlation with passive protection against strain WU2 (r = 0.8783, P = 0.0041). All of our protective MAbs showed bactericidal activity; however, not all MAbs that exhibited bactericidal activity conferred protection in vivo. The protective MAbs described here can be used to identify conserved protection eliciting B cell epitopes for engineering a superior PspA-based vaccine.