Increasing antibiotic resistance and a rising patient population at risk for infection due to impaired immunity underscore the importance of vaccination against pneumococci. However, available capsular polysaccharide vaccines are often poorly immunogenic in patients at risk for pneumococcal disease. The goal of this study was to explore the potential of peptide mimotopes to function as alternative vaccine antigens to elicit a type-specific antibody response to pneumococci. We used a human monoclonal immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibody (NAD) to type 8 Streptococcus pneumoniae capsular polysaccharide (type 8 PS) to screen a phage display library, and the phage PUB1 displaying the peptide FHLPYNHNWFAL was selected after three rounds of biopanning. Inhibition studies with phage-displayed peptide or the peptide PUB1 and type 8 PS showed that PUB1 is a mimetic of type 8 PS. PUB1 conjugated to tetanus toxoid (PUB1-TT) induced a type 8 PS-specific antibody response in BALB/c mice, further defining it as a mimotope of type 8 PS. The administration of immune sera obtained from PUB1-TT-immunized mice earlier (days 14 and 21) and later (days 87 and 100) after primary and reimmunization resulted in a highly significant prolongation of the survival of naive mice after pneumococcal challenge compared to controls. The survival of PUB1-TT-immunized mice was also prolonged after pneumococcal challenge nearly 4 months after primary immunization. The efficacy of PUB1-TT-induced immune sera provides proof of principle that a mimotope-induced antibody response can protect against pneumococci and suggests that peptide mimotopes selected by type-specific human antibodies could hold promise as immunogens for pneumococci.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases