ABSTRACT: Studies have confirmed the key role of Bacillus anthracis protective antigen (PA) in the US and UK human anthrax vaccines. However, given the tripartite nature of the toxin, other components, including lethal factor (LF), are also likely to contribute to protection. We examined the antibody and T cell responses to PA and LF in human volunteers immunized with the UK anthrax vaccine (AVP). Individual LF domains were assessed for immunogenicity in mice when given alone or with PA. Based on the results obtained, a novel fusion protein comprising D1 of LF and the host cell-binding domain of PA (D4) was assessed for protective efficacy. Murine protection studies demonstrated that both full-length LF and D1 of LF conferred complete protection against a lethal intraperitoneal challenge with B. anthracis STI spores. Subsequent studies with the LFD1-PAD4 fusion protein showed a similar level of protection. LF is immunogenic in humans and is likely to contribute to the protection stimulated by AVP. A single vaccine comprising protective regions from LF and PA would simplify production and confer a broader spectrum of protection than that seen with PA alone.
Vaccine 09/2010; 28(41):6740. · 3.77 Impact Factor