Repertoire of human antibodies against the polysaccharide capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6B. (1/1416)

We examined the repertoire of antibodies to Streptococcus pneumoniae 6B capsular polysaccharide induced with the conventional polysaccharide vaccine in adults at the molecular level two ways. In the first, we purified from the sera of seven vaccinees antipneumococcal antibodies and determined their amino acid sequences. Their VH regions are mainly the products of VH3 family genes (candidate genes, 3-23, 3-07, 3-66, and 3-74), but the product of a VH1 family gene (candidate gene, 1-03) is occasionally used. All seven individuals have small amounts of polyclonal kappa+ antibodies (Vkappa1 to Vkappa4 families), although kappa+ antibodies are occasionally dominated by antibodies formed with the product of the A27 Vkappa gene. In contrast, lambda+ anti-6B antibodies are dominated by the antibodies derived from one of 3 very similar Vlambda2 family genes (candidate genes, 2c, 2e, and 2a2) and Clambda1 gene product. The Vlambda2(+) antibodies express the 8.12 idiotype, which is expressed on anti-double-stranded-DNA antibodies. In one case, Vlambda is derived from a rarely expressed Vlambda gene, 10a. In the second approach, we studied a human hybridoma (Dob1) producing anti-6B antibody. Its VH region sequence is closely related to those of the 3-15 VH gene (88% nucleotide homology) and JH4 (92% homology). Its VL region is homologous to the 2a2 Vlambda2 gene (91%) and Jlambda1/Clambda1. Taken together, the V region of human anti-6B antibodies is commonly formed by a VH3 and a Vlambda2 family gene product.  (+info)

Isolation and chemical characterization of a capsular polysaccharide antigen shared by clinical isolates of Enterococcus faecalis and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. (2/1416)

Enterococci are a common cause of serious infections, especially in newborns, severely immunocompromised patients, and patients requiring intensive care. To characterize enterococcal surface antigens that are targets of opsonic antibodies, rabbits were immunized with various gentamicin-killed Enterococcus faecalis strains, and immune sera were tested in an opsonophagocytic assay against a selection of clinical isolates. Serum raised against one strain killed the homologous strain (12030) at a dilution of 1:5,120 and mediated opsonic killing of 33% of all strains tested. In addition, this serum killed two (28%) of seven vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium strains. Adsorption of sera with the homologous strain eliminated killing activity. The adsorbing antigens were resistant to treatment with proteinase K and to boiling for 1 h, but were susceptible to treatment with sodium periodate, indicating that the antigen inducing opsonic activity is a polysaccharide. Antibodies in immune rabbit sera reacted with a capsule-like structure visualized by electron microscopy both on the homologous E. faecalis strain and on a vancomycin-resistant E. faecium strain. The capsular polysaccharides from E. faecalis 12030 and E. faecium 838970 were purified, and chemical and structural analyses indicated they were identical glycerol teichoic acid-like molecules with a carbohydrate backbone structure of 6-alpha-D-glucose-1-2 glycerol-3-PO4 with substitution on carbon 2 of the glucose with an alpha-2-1-D-glucose residue. The purified antigen adsorbed opsonic killing activity from immune rabbit sera and elicited high titers of antibodies (when used to immunize rabbits) that both mediated opsonic killing of bacteria and bound to a capsule-like structure visualized by electron microscopy. These results indicate that approximately one-third of a sample of 15 E. faecalis strains and 7 vancomycin-resistant E. faecium strains possess shared capsular polysaccharides that are targets of opsonophagocytic antibodies and therefore are potential vaccine candidates.  (+info)

Protective efficacy of recombinant Yersinia outer proteins against bubonic plague caused by encapsulated and nonencapsulated Yersinia pestis. (3/1416)

To evaluate the role of Yersinia outer proteins (Yops) in conferring protective immunity against plague, six yop loci from Yersinia pestis were individually amplified by PCR, cloned, and expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant proteins were purified and injected into mice. Most Yop-vaccinated animals succumbed to infection with either wild-type encapsulated Y. pestis or a virulent, nonencapsulated isogenic variant. Vaccination with YpkA significantly prolonged mean survival time but did not increase overall survival of mice infected with the nonencapsulated strain. The only significant protection against death was observed in YopD-vaccinated mice challenged with the nonencapsulated strain.  (+info)

Effects of salinity and temperature on long-term survival of the eel pathogen Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2 (serovar E). (4/1416)

Vibrio vulnificus biotype 2 (serovar E) is a primary eel pathogen. In this study, we performed long-term survival experiments to investigate whether the aquatic ecosystem can be a reservoir for this bacterium. We have used microcosms containing water of different salinities (ranging from 0.3 to 3.8%) maintained at three temperatures (12, 25, and 30 degrees C). Temperature and salinity significantly affected long-term survival: (i) the optimal salinity for survival was 1.5%; (ii) lower salinities reduced survival, although they were nonlethal; and (ii) the optimal temperature for survival was dependent on the salinity (25 degrees C for microcosms at 0.3 and 0.5% and 12 degrees C for microcosms at 1.5 to 3.8%). In the absence of salts, culturability dropped to zero in a few days, without evidence of cellular lysis. Under optimal conditions of salinity and temperature, the bacterium was able to survive in the free-living form for at least 3 years. The presence of a capsule on the bacterial cell seemed to confer an advantage, since the long-term survival rate of opaque variants was significantly higher than that of translucent ones. Long-term-starved cells maintained their infectivity for eels (as determined by both intraperitoneal and immersion challenges) and mice. Examination under the microscope showed that (i) the capsule was maintained, (ii) the cell size decreased, (iii) the rod shape changed to coccuslike along the time of starvation, and (iv) membrane vesicles and extracellular material were occasionally produced. In conclusion, V. vulnificus biotype 2 follows a survival strategy similar to that of biotype 1 of this species in response to starvation conditions in water. Moreover, the aquatic ecosystem is one of its reservoirs.  (+info)

Maternal immunization. (5/1416)

Maternal immunization can enhance passive immunity of infants to pathogens that cause life-threatening illnesses. In most instances, immunization during pregnancy will provide important protection for the woman as well as for her offspring. The tetanus toxoid and influenza vaccines are examples of vaccines that provide a double benefit. Other vaccines under evaluation include those for respiratory syncytial virus, pneumococci, group B streptococci, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Although most IgG antibody crosses the placenta in the third trimester, the process is time-dependent, dictating that immunization should be accomplished ideally at least 6 weeks prior to delivery. IgG1 antibodies are transferred preferentially. Maternal immunization has not interfered with active immunization of the infant. Inactivated vaccines administered in the third trimester of pregnancy pose no known risk to the woman or to her fetus.  (+info)

Phagocytosis of Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes. (6/1416)

Capsulated bacteria exhibit serum (complement) resistance and resistance to phagocytosis, which result in disseminated infections. Vibrio cholerae O139 strains possess a thin capsule and have been found to be partially serum resistant in a previous study. In the present study, compared to a standard capsulated Klebsiella pneumoniae strain, which showed total resistance to killing by phagocytosis, V. cholerae O139 strains were shown to be only partially resistant, with most strains showing <40% survival. These findings may explain the relative rarity of V. cholerae O139 bacteremia in cholera caused by this organism.  (+info)

Ultrastructure of surface components of Streptococcus gallolytics (S. bovis) strains of differing virulence isolated from pigeons. (7/1416)

Virulence of Streptococcus gallolyticus (S. bovis) strains isolated from pigeons is associated with the presence of the extracellular proteins A, T1, T2 and T3. Based on the presence or absence of these proteins, six supernatant-phenotypes are distinguished. Experimental infection studies have indicated that strains belonging to the A-T1, A+T1, A+T2 and A+T3 groups are highly virulent for pigeons, strains belonging to the A-T3 groups are moderately virulent and A-T2 strains are of low virulence. In this study the surface structure of 15 pigeon S. gallolyticus strains representing high, moderate and low virulence supernatant-phenotypes was examined by electron microscopy. The presence of capsular material was determined by transmission electron microscopy after polycationic ferritin labelling and immunostabilization. Capsules from cells labelled with polycationic ferritin were usually thicker than those from cells exposed to antiserum. The capsule of the virulent strains had a regular, continuous appearance whilst irregularity of the capsule was a characteristic of the low virulence A-T2 strains. Negative staining revealed the presence of fimbriae in all strains belonging to the high virulence A-T1, A+T1, A+T2 and A+T3 supernatant groups and in one strain of the moderately virulent A-T3 group. The fimbriae were thin, flexible structures with a diameter of approximately 3-4 nm and a length of up to 700 nm. Fimbriae as described above were absent in two other A-T3 strains examined and in the low virulence A-T2 strains. Results from this study indicate that morphological differences in surface structure exist among virulent and low virulence pigeon S. gallolyticus strains, and that the capsule and/or fimbriae are possibly involved in virulence.  (+info)

Identification and characterization of the cps locus of Streptococcus suis serotype 2: the capsule protects against phagocytosis and is an important virulence factor. (8/1416)

To study the role of the capsule of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 in virulence, we generated two isogenic mutants disturbed in capsule production. For that purpose, we first cloned and characterized a major part of the capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis (cps) locus of S. suis serotype 2. Based on the established sequence, 14 open reading frames (ORFs), designated Orf2Z, Orf2Y, Orf2X, and Cps2A to Cps2K, were identified. Twelve ORFs belonged to a single transcriptional unit. The gene products of 11 of these ORFs showed similarity to proteins involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis of other gram-positive microorganisms. Nonencapsulated isogenic mutants were generated in the cps2B and cps2EF genes by insertional mutagenesis. In contrast to the wild-type S. suis serotype 2 strain, the nonencapsulated strains were highly sensitive to ingestion by porcine alveolar lung macrophages in vitro. More importantly, the nonencapsulated mutant strains were completely avirulent in young germfree pigs after intranasal inoculation. These observations indicate that the capsule of S. suis serotype 2 plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of S. suis serotype 2 infections.  (+info)