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Genome-derived neisserial Ag (GNA) 1870 is a meningococcal vaccine candidate that can be subdivided into three variants based on amino acid sequence variability. Variant group 1 accounts for approximately 60% of disease-producing group B isolates. The Ag went unrecognized until its discovery by genome mining because it is expressed in low copy number by most strains. To investigate the relationship between Ab binding to GNA1870 and complement-mediated protective functions, we prepared a panel of four murine IgG mAbs against rGNA1870 (variant 1) and evaluated their activity against nine genetically diverse encapsulated Neisseria meningitidis strains expressing subvariants of variant 1 GNA1870. Based on flow cytometry with live encapsulated bacteria, surface accessibility of the epitopes recognized by the mAbs appeared to be low in most strains. Yet mAb concentrations <1 to 5 micro g/ml were sufficient to elicit bactericidal activity with human complement and/or activate C3b deposition on the bacterial surface. Certain combinations of mAbs were highly bactericidal against strains that were resistant to bactericidal activity of the respective individual mAbs. The mAbs conferred passive protection against bacteremia in infant rats challenged by strains resistant to bacteriolysis, and the protective activity paralleled the ability of the mAb to activate C3b deposition. Thus, despite low GNA1870 surface exposure, anti-GNA1870 variant 1 Abs are bactericidal and/or elicit C3b deposition and confer protection against bacteremia caused by encapsulated N. meningitidis strains expressing GNA1870 subvariant 1 proteins. The data support GNA1870 as a promising vaccine candidate for prevention of meningococcal group B disease caused by GNA1870 variant 1 strains.

Citation

Jo Anne Welsch, Raffaella Rossi, Maurizio Comanducci, Dan M Granoff. Protective activity of monoclonal antibodies to genome-derived neisserial antigen 1870, a Neisseria meningitidis candidate vaccine. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 2004 May 1;172(9):5606-15

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PMID: 15100304

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