Sequence diversity of the factor H binding protein vaccine candidate in epidemiologically relevant strains of serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis.

Wyeth Vaccines Research, Pearl River, New York 10965, USA.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases (Impact Factor: 5.85). 07/2009; 200(3):379-89. DOI: 10.1086/600141
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recombinant forms of Neisseria meningitidis human factor H binding protein (fHBP) are undergoing clinical trials in candidate vaccines against invasive meningococcal serogroup B disease. We report an extensive survey and phylogenetic analysis of the diversity of fhbp genes and predicted protein sequences in invasive clinical isolates obtained in the period 2000-2006.
Nucleotide sequences of fhbp genes were obtained from 1837 invasive N. meningitidis serogroup B (MnB) strains from the United States, Europe, New Zealand, and South Africa. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis was performed on a subset of the strains.
Every strain contained the fhbp gene. All sequences fell into 1 of 2 subfamilies (A or B), with 60%-75% amino acid identity between subfamilies and at least 83% identity within each subfamily. One fHBP sequence may have arisen via inter-subfamily recombination. Subfamily B sequences were found in 70% of the isolates, and subfamily A sequences were found in 30%. Multiple fHBP variants were detected in each of the common MLST clonal complexes. All major MLST complexes include strains in both subfamily A and subfamily B.
The diversity of strains observed underscores the importance of studying the distribution of the vaccine antigen itself rather than relying on common epidemiological surrogates such as MLST.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Surface-expressed protein antigens such as factor H-binding protein (fHbp), Neisserial adhesin A (NadA), Neisserial heparin-binding antigen (NHBA) and Porin protein A (PorA); all express sequence variability that can affect their function as protective immunogens when used in meningococcal serogroup B vaccines like the recently-approved 4CMenB (Bexsero(®)). We assessed the sequence variation of genes coding for these proteins and two additional proteins ("fusion partners" to fHbp and NHBA) in pathogenic isolates from a recent low incidence period (endemic situation; 2005-2006) in Norway. Findings among strains from this panel were contrasted to what was found among isolates from a historic outbreak (epidemic situation; 1985-1990). Multilocus sequence typing revealed 14 clonal complexes (cc) among the 66 endemic strains, while cc32 vastly predominated in the 38-strain epidemic panel. Serogroup B isolates accounted for 50/66 among endemic strains and 28/38 among epidemic strains. Potential strain-coverage ("sequence match") for the 4CMenB vaccine was identified among the majority (>70%) of the endemic serogroup B isolates and all of the epidemic serogroup B isolates evaluated. Further information about the degree of expression, surface availability and the true cross-reactivity for the vaccine antigens will be needed to fully characterize the clinical strain-coverage of 4CMenB in various geographical and epidemiological situations.
    Vaccine 03/2014; · 3.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The prevention of meningococcal disease may be improved by recombinant vaccines such as 4CMenB and rLP2086 that target the factor H binding protein (fHbp), an immunogenic surface component of Neisseria meningitidis present as one of three variants. Whether such vaccines decrease carriage of invasive isolates and thus induce herd immunity is unknown. We analyzed the genetic diversity and levels of expression of fHbp among 268 carriage strains and compare them to those of 467 invasive strains. fhbp gene sequencing showed higher proportions of variants 2 and 3 among carriage isolates (p<0.0001). Carriage isolates expressed lower levels of fHbp (p<0.01) but that remain high enough to predict targeting by antibodies against fHbp particularly in group B isolates belonging to the frequent hypervirulent clonal complexes in Europe and North America (cc32, cc41/44, cc269). This suggests that fHbp targeting meningococcal vaccines might reduce, at least in part, the acquisition of some hyperinvasive isolates.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e107240. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The meningococcal 4CMenB vaccine (Bexsero; Novartis) contains four antigens that can elicit serum bactericidal activity, one of which is factor H (FH)-binding protein (FHbp). FHbp specifically binds human complement FH. When humans are immunized, FHbp is expected to form a complex with FH, which could affect immunogenicity and safety. Wild-type mice (whose FH does not bind to FHbp) and human FH transgenic mice were immunized with three doses of 4CMenB, and their responses were compared. There were no significant differences between the serum bactericidal responses of transgenic and wild-type mice to strains with all of the antigens mismatched for 4CMenB except PorA or NadA. In contrast, against a strain mismatched for all of the antigens except FHbp, the transgenic mice had 15-fold weaker serum bactericidal antibody responses (P = 0.0006). Binding of FH downregulates complement. One explanation for the lower anti-FHbp serum bactericidal activity in the transgenic mice is that their postimmunization serum samples enhanced the binding of FH to FHbp, whereas the serum samples from the wild-type mice inhibited FH binding. Control antiserum from transgenic mice immunized with a low-FH-binding mutant FHbp (R41S) vaccine inhibited FH binding. Two 4CMenB-vaccinated transgenic mice developed serum IgM autoantibodies to human FH. Thus, human FH impairs protective serum anti-FHbp antibody responses, in part by skewing the antibody repertoire to FHbp epitopes outside the FH binding site. FHbp vaccines that bind FH may elicit FH autoantibodies. Mutant FHbp antigens with low FH binding could improve protection and, potentially, vaccine safety in humans.
    mBio 01/2014; 5(5). · 6.88 Impact Factor


Available from
Jul 18, 2014