Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI

T(H)17-Mediated Protection against Pneumococcal Carriage by a Whole-Cell Vaccine Is Dependent on Toll-Like Receptor 2 and Surface Lipoproteins.

PMID 26041040


A pneumococcal whole-cell vaccine (WCV) confers T(H)17-mediated immunogenicity and reduces nasopharyngeal (NP) carriage in mice. Activation of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) has been shown to be important for generating T(H)17 responses, and several lipidated pneumococcal proteins have TLR2-activating properties. Here we investigated the roles of TLR2 and lipidation of proteins in WCV-induced interleukin-17A (IL-17A) responses and protection against NP carriage. Immunization of Tlr2(-/-) mice with WCV conferred significantly lower IL-17A levels and reduced protection against NP carriage, compared to wild-type (WT) mice, suggesting that host TLR2 engagement is required for effective immunity and protection elicited by WCV immunization. Using a WCV with deletion of lgt, the gene encoding the enzyme required for lipidation and membrane attachment of prolipoproteins, we show that lipidation and membrane localization of these proteins are critical for the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of the WCV. To evaluate the roles of diacylglyceryl transferase (Lgt)-mediated processes in the recall of WCV-induced protective responses, we colonized WCV-immunized animals with a strain in which lgt was deleted. WCV-immunized animals still had significantly reduced colonization burdens, compared to control animals, which suggests that lipidation and membrane localization of pneumococcal prolipoproteins are less critical for the recall of the immune responses elicited by WCV immunization than for the priming of such responses. Elucidation of underlying immune mechanisms and the optimal characteristics of WCV formulations can help guide vaccine development and enhance our understanding of host-pneumococcus interactions.