Clinical and vaccine immunology : CVI

Capsular Polysaccharide (CPS) Release by Serotype 3 Pneumococcal Strains Reduces the Protective Effect of Anti-Type 3 CPS Antibodies.

PMID 26677201


The efficacy of the serotype 3 (ST3) pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) remains unclear. While the synthesis of capsular polysaccharide (CPS) of most serotypes is wzy dependent, the strains of two serotypes, 3 and 37, synthesize CPS by the synthase-dependent pathway, resulting in a polysaccharide that is not covalently linked to peptidoglycan and can be released during growth. We hypothesized that the release of CPS during growth reduces anti-type 3 CPS antibody-mediated protection and may explain the lower efficacy of the type 3 component of PCV than that of other PCVs. The in vitro-released CPS concentrations per 10(7) CFU of ST3 and ST37 strains were significantly higher than those for the ST1, ST4, ST6B, and ST14 strains. Following intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection in mice, blood concentrations of CPS were significantly higher for the ST3 than for the ST4/5 strains. The opsonophagocytic killing assay (OPKA) titer of anti-type 3 CPS antibody was significantly reduced by type 3 CPS, culture supernatant, or serum from Streptococcus pneumoniae ST3 strain WU2-infected mice. Mice were injected with capsule-specific antibodies and challenged i.p. with or without the addition of sterile culture supernatant containing type-specific CPS. The addition of 0.2 μl of culture supernatant from WU2 inhibited passive protection, whereas 100-fold-more culture supernatant from S. pneumoniae ST4 strain TIGR4 was required for the inhibition of protection. We conclude that released type 3 CPS interferes with antibody-mediated killing and protection by anti-CPS antibodies. The relative failure of ST3 PCV may be due to CPS release, suggesting that alternative immunization approaches for ST3 may be necessary.

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