Infection and immunity

A Neutralizing Monoclonal IgG1 Antibody of Platelet-Activating Factor Acetylhydrolase SsE Protects Mice against Lethal Subcutaneous Group A Streptococcus Infection.

PMID 25916987


Group A Streptococcus (GAS) can cause life-threatening invasive infections, including necrotizing fasciitis. There are no effective treatments for severe invasive GAS infections. The platelet-activating factor (PAF) acetylhydrolase SsE produced by GAS is required for invasive GAS to evade innate immune responses and to invade soft tissues. This study determined whether the enzymatic activity of SsE is critical for its function in GAS skin invasion and inhibition of neutrophil recruitment and whether SsE is a viable target for immunotherapy for severe invasive GAS infections. An isogenic derivative of M1T1 strain MGAS5005 producing SsE with an S178A substitution (SsE(S178A)), an enzymatically inactive SsE mutant protein, was generated. This strain induced higher levels of neutrophil infiltration and caused smaller lesions than MGAS5005 in subcutaneous infections of mice. This phenotype is similar to that of MGAS5005 sse deletion mutants, indicating that the enzymatic activity of SsE is critical for its function. An anti-SsE IgG1 monoclonal antibody (MAb), 2B11, neutralized the PAF acetylhydrolase activity of SsE. Passive immunization with 2B11 increased neutrophil infiltration, reduced skin invasion, and protected mice against MGAS5005 infection. However, 2B11 did not protect mice when it was administered after MGAS5005 inoculation. MGAS5005 induced vascular effusion at infection sites at early hours after GAS inoculation, suggesting that 2B11 did not always have access to infection sites. Thus, the enzymatic activity of SsE mediates its function, and SsE has the potential to be included in a vaccine but is not a therapeutic target. An effective MAb-based immunotherapy for severe invasive GAS infections may need to target virulence factors that are critical for systemic survival of GAS.