A capsular polysaccharidespecific antibody alters Streptococcus pneumoniae gene expression during nasopharyngeal colonization of mice

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Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) elicit opsonophagocytic (opsonic) antibodies to pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides (PPS) and reduce nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization by vaccine-included Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes. However, nonopsonic antibodies may also be important for protection against pneumococcal disease. For example, 1E2, a mouse IgG1 monoclonal antibody (MAb) to the serotype 3 (ST3) PPS (PPS3), reduced ST3 NP colonization in mice and altered ST3 gene expression in vitro. Here, we determined whether 1E2 affects ST3 gene expression in vivo during colonization of mice by performing RNA sequencing on NP lavage fluid from ST3-infected mice treated with 1E2, a control MAb, or phosphatebuffered saline. Compared to the results for the controls, 1E2 significantly altered the expression of over 50 genes. It increased the expression of the piuBCDA operon, which encodes an iron uptake system, and decreased the expression of dpr, which encodes a protein critical for resistance to oxidative stress. 1E2-mediated effects on ST3 in vivo required divalent binding, as Fab fragments did not reduce NP colonization or alter ST3 gene expression. In vitro, 1E2 induced dose-dependent ST3 growth arrest and altered piuB and dpr expression, whereas an opsonic PPS3 MAb, 5F6, did not. 1E2-treated bacteria were more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and the ironrequiring antibiotic streptonigrin, suggesting that 1E2 may increase iron import and enhance sensitivity to oxidative stress. Finally, 1E2 also induced rapid capsule shedding in vitro, suggesting that this may initiate 1E2-induced changes in sensitivity to oxidative stress and gene expression. Our data reveal a novel mechanism of direct, antibody-mediated antibacterial activity that could inform new directions in antipneumococcal therapy and vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00300-18
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2018



  • Antibody function
  • Capsule
  • Iron acquisition
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Nasopharyngeal colonization
  • Pneumococcus
  • Serotype 3
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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