Development of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine based on chemical conjugation of polysaccharide serotype 6B to PspA

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The use of conjugate vaccines remains an effective intervention to prevent pneumococcal diseases. In order to expand vaccine coverage, the inclusion of pneumococcal proteins as carriers is a propitious alternative that has been explored over the past few years. In this study, pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) clade 1, family 1 (PspA1) and clade 3, family 2 (PspA3) were used as carrier proteins for pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide serotype 6B (Ps6B). Employing an improved reductive amination chemistry, 50% of Ps6B was incorporated to each protein, PspA1 and PspA3. The effect of chemical modifications in Ps6B and PspA was assessed by an antigenicity assay and circular dichroism, respectively. Fragmentation and oxidation decreased the antigenicity of Ps6B while conjugation improved antigenicity. In the same manner, introduction of adipic acid dihydrazide (ADH) reduced PspA secondary structure content, which was partially restored after conjugation. Immunization of Ps6B-PspA1 and Ps6B-PspA3 conjugates in mice induced specific IgG antibodies against the Ps6B and the protein; and anti-PspA antibodies had functional activity against two pneumococcal strains with different serotypes. These results suggest that chemical coupling between Ps6B and PspA did not affect antigenic epitopes and support the further development of PspA as a carrier protein in pneumococcal conjugate vaccines to provide broader protection.
Santiesteban-Lores LE, Cabrera-Crespo J, Carvalho E. Development of a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine based on chemical conjugation of polysaccharide serotype 6B to PspA. Microb. Pathog.. 2021 Sept;158:105092. doi:10.1016/j.micpath.2021.105092.
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