New treatment strategies are urgently needed to overcome early mortality in acute bacterial infections. Previous studies have shown that administration of a novel immunoactivating peptide (P4) alongside passive immunotherapy prevents the onset of septicemia and rescues mice from lethal invasive disease models of pneumococcal pneumonia and sepsis. In this study, using two diverse populations of adult volunteers, we determined whether P4 treatment of human alveolar macrophages would upregulate phagocytic killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae
ex vivo. We also measured macrophage intracellular oxidation, cytokine secretion, and surface marker expression following stimulation. Peptide treatment showed enhanced bacterial killing in the absence of nonspecific inflammation, consistent with therapeutic potential. This is the first demonstration of P4 efficacy on ex vivo-derived human lung cells.
We measured anti-Hia capsular polysaccharide serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies in cord blood sera from Mexican (n=68) and Chilean mothers (n=72) by ELISA. Measurable antibodies were found in 79.3% of samples. IgG antibodies correlated with serum bactericidal activity (r=0.66). This ELISA can be used for the evaluation of adaptive immune responses to Hia and sero-surveillance studies in populations at risk.
Haemophilus influenzae type a; ELISA; anti-capsular antibodies
Staphylococcus aureus (SA) is a major community-acquired pathogen. The emergence of drug-resistant strains like, methicillin-resistant SA (MRSA), poses stiff challenges to therapeutic intervention. Passive immune-therapy with specific antibodies is being actively examined to treat fulminant infections with limited success. In this study, we demonstrate that P4, a 28-amino acid peptide, derived from pneumococcal surface adhesin A along with pathogen-specific antibody (IVIG; P4 therapy) is successful in enhancing the opsonophagocytic killing (OPK) of S. aureus in vitro. We questioned if it is possible to expand P4 therapy to treat staphylococcal infections in vivo. P4 therapy in combination with IVIG rescued 7/10 morbidly ill S. aureus-infected mice while only 2/10 survived in the control group.
Haemophilus influenzae type a (Hia) is an important pathogen for some American Indian, Alaskan native, and Northern Canada aboriginal populations. Assays to measure serum bactericidal activity (SBA) to Hia have not been developed or validated. Here, we describe two methods for the measurement of SBA: SBA with a viability endpoint (CFU counts) and SBA with a fluorometric endpoint using alamarBlue as the metabolic indicator. Both SBA assays measure Hia-specific functional antibody and correlate with anti-Hia IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) concentration of naturally acquired antibodies.
Antibody-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) by phagocytes is an important mechanism of protection of the human host against pneumococcal infections. Measurement of opsonophagocytic antibodies by use of a standardized opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) is important for the evaluation of candidate vaccines and required for the licensure of new pneumococcal conjugate vaccine formulations. We assessed agreement among six laboratories that used their own optimized OPAs on a panel of 16 human reference sera for 13 pneumococcal serotypes. Consensus titers, estimated using an analysis-of-variance (ANOVA) mixed-effects model, provided a common reference for assessing agreement among these laboratories. Agreement was evaluated in terms of assay accuracy, reproducibility, repeatability, precision, and bias. We also reviewed four acceptance criterion intervals for assessing the comparability of protocols when assaying the same reference sera. The precision, accuracy, and concordance results among laboratories and the consensus titers revealed acceptable agreement. The results of this study indicate that the bioassays evaluated in this study are robust, and the resultant OPA values are reproducible for the determination of functional antibody titers specific to 13 pneumococcal serotypes when performed by laboratories using highly standardized but not identical assays. The statistical methodologies employed in this study may serve as a template for evaluating future multilaboratory studies.
Serotype-specific IgG, as quantified by a standardized WHO enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), is a serologic end point used to evaluate pneumococcal polysaccharide-based vaccine immunogenicity. Antibodies to each vaccine polysaccharide in licensed multivalent vaccines are quantified separately; this is laborious and consumes serum. We compared three bead-based immunoassays: a commercial assay (xMAP Pneumo14; Luminex) and two in-house assays (of the Health Protection Agency [HPA] and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]), using the WHO-recommended standard reference and reference sera (n = 11) from vaccinated adults. Multiple comparisons of the IgG concentrations for seven conjugate vaccine serotypes were performed by sample (percent error), serotype (equivalency testing), and laboratory (concordance correlation coefficient [CCC]). When comparing concentrations by sample, bead-based immunoassays generally yielded higher antibody concentrations than the ELISA and had higher variability for serotypes 6B, 18C, and 23F. None of the three assays met the current WHO recommendation of 75% of sera falling within 40% of the assigned antibody concentrations for all seven serotypes. When compared by serotype, the CDC and HPA tests were equivalent for five of seven serotypes, whereas the Luminex assay was equivalent for four of seven serotypes. When overall mean IgG concentrations were compared by laboratory, a higher level of agreement (CCC close to 1) was found among bead-based immunoassays than between the assays and WHO assignments. When compared to WHO assignments, the HPA assay outperformed the other assays (r = 0.920; CCC = 0.894; coefficient of accuracy = 0.972). Additional testing with sera from immunogenicity studies should demonstrate the applicability of this methodology for vaccine evaluation.
P4, a 28-amino-acid peptide, is a eukaryotic cellular activator that enhances specific in vitro opsonophagocytic killing of multiple bacterial pathogens. In a previous study, we successfully recreated this phenomenon in mice in vivo by using a two-dose regimen of P4 and pathogen-specific antibodies, which significantly reduced moribundity in mice. For the present study, we hypothesized that the inclusion of a low-dose antibiotic would make it possible to treat the infected mice with a single dose containing a mixture of P4 and a pathogen-specific antibody. A single dose consisting of P4, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), and ceftriaxone effectively reduced moribundity compared to that of untreated controls (n = 10) by 75% (P < 0.05) and rescued all (10 of 10) infected animals (P < 0.05). If rescued animals were reinfected with Streptococcus pneumoniae and treated with a single dose containing P4, IVIG, and ceftriaxone, they could be rerescued. This observation of the repeated successful use of P4 combination therapy demonstrates a low risk of tolerance development. Additionally, we examined the polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) derived from infected mice and observed that P4 enhanced in vitro opsonophagocytic killing (by >80% over the control level; P < 0.05). This finding supports our hypothesis that PMN are activated by P4 during opsonophagocytosis and the recovery of mice from pneumococcal infection. P4 peptide-based combination therapy may offer an alternative and rapid immunotherapy to treat fulminant pneumococcal infection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus [Pnc]) is a causative agent of many infectious diseases, including pneumonia, septicemia, otitis media, and conjunctivitis. There have been documented conjunctivitis outbreaks in which nontypeable (NT), nonencapsulated Pnc has been identified as the etiological agent. The use of mass spectrometry to comparatively and differentially analyze protein and peptide profiles of whole-cell microorganisms remains somewhat uncharted. In this report, we discuss a comparative proteomic analysis between NT S. pneumoniae conjunctivitis outbreak strains (cPnc) and other known typeable or NT pneumococcal and streptococcal isolates (including Pnc TIGR4 and R6, Streptococcus oralis, Streptococcus mitis, Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes) and nonstreptococcal isolates (including Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Staphylococcus aureus) as controls. cPnc cells and controls were grown to mid-log phase, harvested, and subsequently treated with a 10% trifluoroacetic acid-sinapinic acid matrix mixture. Protein and peptide fragments of the whole-cell bacterial isolate-matrix combinations ranging in size from 2 to 14 kDa were evaluated by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. Additionally Random Forest analytical tools and dendrogramic representations (Genesis) suggested similarities and clustered the isolates into distinct clonal groups, respectively. Also, a peak list of protein and peptide masses was obtained and compared to a known Pnc protein mass library, in which a peptide common and unique to cPnc isolates was tentatively identified. Information gained from this study will lead to the identification and validation of proteins that are commonly and exclusively expressed in cPnc strains which could potentially be used as a biomarker in the rapid diagnosis of pneumococcal conjunctivitis.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite the availability of effective pneumococcal vaccines. Understanding the molecular interactions between the bacterium and the host will contribute to the control and prevention of pneumococcal disease.
We used a combination of adherence assays, mutagenesis and functional genomics to identify novel factors involved in adherence. By contrasting these processes in two pneumococcal strains, TIGR4 and G54, we showed that adherence and invasion capacities vary markedly by strain. Electron microscopy showed more adherent bacteria in association with membranous pseudopodia in the TIGR4 strain. Operons for cell wall phosphorylcholine incorporation (lic), manganese transport (psa) and phosphate utilization (phn) were up-regulated in both strains on exposure to epithelial cells. Pneumolysin, pili, stress protection genes (adhC-czcD) and genes of the type II fatty acid synthesis pathway were highly expressed in the naturally more invasive strain, TIGR4. Deletion mutagenesis of five gene regions identified as regulated in this study revealed attenuation in adherence. Most strikingly, ∆SP_1922 which was predicted to contain a B-cell epitope and revealed significant attenuation in adherence, appeared to be expressed as a part of an operon that includes the gene encoding the cytoplasmic pore-forming toxin and vaccine candidate, pneumolysin.
This work identifies a list of novel potential pneumococcal adherence determinants.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; Gene expression; Microarray; Adherence; Invasion; Genome; Mutagenesis; SP_1922; Ply operon
Viral upper respiratory tract infections are associated with increased colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae but the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear. The objective of this study is to describe a comprehensive picture of the cellular interaction between the adhering bacteria and host cells in the presence or absence of a viral co-infection.
Gene expression profiles of Detroit-562 pharyngeal cells, which were either mock-infected or infected with human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or human parainfluenza virus 3 (HPIV3), were analyzed using human microarrays. Transcription response of S. pneumoniae strain TIGR4 (serotype 4) in the presence of either mock- or viral-infected cells was analyzed by pneumococcal microarray. Significantly regulated genes were identified by both significance analysis of microarray (SAM) and a ≥ 2-fold change ratio cut-off. The adherence of S. pneumoniae to human pharyngeal cells was significantly augmented in the presence of RSV or HPIV3 infection. Global gene expression profiling of the host cells during infection with RSV or HPIV3 revealed increased transcription of carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecules (CEACAM1), CD47, fibronectin, interferon-stimulated genes and many other host cell adhesion molecules. Pneumococci increased transcription of several genes involved in adhesive functions (psaA, pilus islet), choline uptake and incorporation (lic operon), as well as transport and binding.
We have identified a core transcriptome that represents the basic machinery required for adherence of pneumococci to D562 cells infected or not infected with a virus. These bacterial genes and cell adhesion molecules can potentially be used to control pneumococcal adherence occurring secondary to a viral infection.
Streptococcus pneumoniae; RSV; HPIV3; Gene expression; Microarray; Adherence; Bacterial-viral co-infection
The 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide (Ps) vaccine offer protection against vaccine serotypes, but its cross-protection against vaccine-related serotypes is variable. We have demonstrated that the functional antibodies to serotype 15B are specific to the O-acetylated 15B-Ps and that they have low cross-reactivity with serotype 15C. Demonstration of functionally cross-reactive antibodies to vaccine-related serotypes is important for surveillance and vaccine development.
Continued Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) carriage in rural Alaska contributes to the ongoing risk of invasive disease. Community-wide Hib carriage surveys were conducted in three villages in southwestern Alaska. Sixteen carriers and 32 age- and village-matched controls were enrolled and were vaccinated with Hib oligosaccharide-CRM197 conjugate vaccine. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration, antibody avidity, and serum bactericidal activity (SBA) were measured prior to Hib vaccination and 2 and 12 months after vaccination. We identified no demographic or behavioral factors associated with Hib colonization. Prior to vaccination, Hib carriers had a higher IgG geometric mean concentration than controls did (8.2 versus 1.6 μg/ml; P < 0.001) and a higher SBA geometric mean titer (7,132 versus 1,235; P = 0.006). Both groups responded to vaccination with increased IgG and SBA. These data illustrate the role of Hib colonization as an immunizing event and show that Hib carriers in communities with ongoing transmission have no evidence of reduced immune responsiveness that may have put them at risk for colonization.
The determination of functional antipneumococcal capsular polysaccharide antibodies by sequential testing of pre- and postvaccination serum samples one serotype at a time is sample-intensive and time-consuming and has a relatively low throughput. We tested several opsonophagocytic assay (OPA) formats, including the reference killing method, a monovalent bacterium-based flow method, a trivalent bacterium-based flow method, and a tetravalent bead-based flow method using a panel of sera (4 prevaccination and 16 postvaccination, from healthy adults immunized with the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine). The trivalent and tetravalent methods allow simultaneous measurements of opsonic antibodies to multiple pneumococcal serotypes. The trivalent bacterial-flow OPA had significant correlation to the reference OPA method and to a previously published flow cytometric OPA (r values ranged from 0.61 to 0.91, P < 0.05) for serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F. The tetravalent OPA had significant correlation to all OPA method formats tested (r values from 0.68 to 0.92, P < 0.05) for all seven serotypes tested. This tetravalent OPA is an alternative to other OPA methods for use during vaccine evaluation and clinical trials. Further, the flow cytometric multiplex OPA format has the potential for expansion beyond the current four serotypes to eight or more serotypes, which would further increase relative sample throughput while reducing reagent and sample volumes used.
We developed fluorescent mono- and multivalent opsonophagocytic assays (fOPA and fmOPA, respectively) specific for seven Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes (4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F). Bacterial survival was quantitated with alamar blue, a fluorescent metabolic indicator. Both fOPA and fmOPA allow for determination of viability endpoints for up to seven serotypes with high levels of agreement to the reference method. The fmOPA eliminates colony counting, reduces serum volume, and produces results in 1 day.
Diagnostic techniques for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in children are insensitive and underestimate both the burden of disease and the cost-effectiveness of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination (PCV). Consequently, there is little demand for the highly effective PCV outside the United States and Europe. In Kenya, diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia in adults was achieved with a sensitivity of 0.70 and a specificity of 0.98 using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) of paired plasma samples for immunoglobulin G (IgG) to pneumococcal surface adhesin A (PsaA). We aimed to validate the same technique in children. We assayed paired blood samples from 98 children with IPD, 95 age-matched children with malaria/anemia, and 97 age-matched healthy controls by using an ELISA for anti-PsaA IgG. Sensitivity and specificity were determined in IPD patients and healthy controls. Specificity (0.97; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.91 to 0.99) and sensitivity (0.42; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.52) were optimized at a 2.7-fold rise in anti-PsaA antibody concentration. Sensitivity was improved to a maximum of 0.50 by restricting testing to children of <2 years old, by excluding IPD patients who were not sampled on the first day of presentation, and by incorporating high existing antibody concentrations in the analysis. Assay performance was independent of nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci at recruitment. This assay improves on existing diagnostic tools for IPD in children but would still leave over half of all cases undetected in epidemiological studies. Effective diagnosis of pneumococcal disease in children is urgently required but poorly served by existing technology.
Determination of antibody avidity measurements can be difficult in human serum depending on the population evaluated. We evaluated three approaches for the determination of antibody avidity for immunoglobulin G (IgG). These approaches were (i) elution of bound antibody with increasing concentrations of a chaotropic agent using a single serum dilution, (ii) binding interference of multiple serum dilutions by a single concentration of a chaotrope, and (iii) elution of multiple serum dilutions by a single concentration of a chaotrope. Parameters that affect the determination of avidity measurements and their limitations were evaluated with pre- and post-Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccination sera (n = 89). We determined that elution of low-avidity antibodies present in multiple dilutions of the serum sample by a single concentration of a chaotrope (0.15 M sodium thiocyanate [NaSCN]) was optimal for the determination of avidity measurements throughout a wide range of IgG concentrations (0.94 to 304.6 μg/ml). The percent reduction in concentration as determined by the elution assay with 0.15 M NaSCN correlated highly (r = 0.84) with weighted averages obtained by an elution assay with multiple solutions of NaSCN. The correlation (r = 0.57) between elution and binding interference, when a single concentration of a chaotrope was used, was lower than the correlation between the two elution methods (r = 0.84). We found that the serum dilution, the heterogeneity of the antibody population, and the concentration of the chaotrope were the primary variables affecting avidity determinations. In this study, we present multiple analysis methods depending on the methodology used. We also present the factors that affect the analysis of avidity determinations given the polyclonal nature of human sera. This experimental approach should benefit the evaluation of similar antibodies induced by other bacterial polysaccharide vaccines.
Streptococcus pneumoniae is a serious worldwide pathogen and the focus of numerous vaccine development projects. Currently the most widely accepted surrogate marker for evaluating the efficacy of a given vaccine is to utilize ELISA. Measurement of antibody concentration by ELISA without reduction in cross-reactive antibodies causes an overestimation of antibody concentration and therefore protection, this is most notable in the aged, an at risk group for this infection. We compared the immune response to the pneumococcal polysaccharides (PPS) 4 and 14 of 20 young to 20 elderly adults. Pre-and post-vaccination IgG antibody concentrations and antibody avidity against PPS4 and PPS14 were measured using two different enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) absorption protocols. All sera were pre-absorbed with either cell-wall polysaccharide (CPS), or CPS and serotype 22F polysaccharide.
Pre- and post-vaccination IgG antibody concentrations for serotype 4, but not 14, were significantly lowered with the additional absorption with serotype 22F polysaccharide in both age groups. Young and elderly demonstrated a significant increase from pre- to post-immunization antibody concentration, using either absorption method; and opsonophagocytic antibody titers in response to both PPS4 and PPS14. The correlation coefficients between ELISA and opsonophagocytic assays were improved by additional absorption with serotype 22F in response to serotype 4, but not serotype 14 in all age groups. Opsonophagocytic antibody titers in a sub-group of elderly (>77 years of age) were significantly lower than the opsonophagocytic antibody concentrations in young adults.
These results suggest the importance of eliminating cross-reactive antibodies from ELISA measurements by absorption of serum and an age-related impairment in the antibody response to pneumococcal polysaccharides.
Conventional culture techniques are limited in the ability to detect multiple Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes in nasopharyngeal (NP) secretions. We developed an immunoblot (IB) method with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to detect S. pneumoniae and to identify serotypes. NP specimens stored in skim milk-tryptone-glucose-glycerol medium were assessed by the IB method and the reference culture method (RM). In the RM, four optochin-sensitive alpha-hemolytic colonies resembling pneumococci were typed by the Quellung reaction. In the IB method, a nitrocellulose membrane blot of surface growth was reacted with a pneumococcal surface adhesion (PsaA) MAb and visualized. Of 47 NP specimens, 32 (68%) were found to be positive and 13 (28%) were found to be negative for pneumococci by both methods; each method alone yielded one positive result. The sensitivity and specificity of the IB method for the detection of pneumococci were 97 and 93%, respectively. To identify serotypes, blots were tested with serotype-specific MAbs (4, 6A, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F). To detect the remaining serotypes, positive serotype-specific replicate blots were compared visually to an original anti-PsaA-positive blot; four unidentified colonies were subcultured and serotyped by the Quellung reaction. Fifty-eight S. pneumoniae-positive NP specimens containing 69 pneumococcal strains (23 serotypes) were tested; 68 (98.6%) of the strains were detected by the IB method, and 66 (95.6%) were detected by the RM. For 11 specimens found to contain two serotypes, both methods detected both serotypes in 7 (63.6%), the IB method alone detected the two serotypes in 3 (27.3%), and the RM alone detected both serotypes in 1 (9%). The IB method identified multiple clones and minor populations of pneumococci in NP secretions. This method is useful for detecting specific serotypes and carriage of multiple serotypes in epidemiologic surveillance and carriage studies.
We evaluated alamarBlue as a metabolic indicator in a standardized assay for the measurement of serum bactericidal activity (SBA) to Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) using sera containing natural and vaccine-induced anticapsular (polyribosylribitol phosphate) antibodies. SBA assays with a colorimetric and a fluorometric end point in the presence of alamarBlue were developed and compared to a standard SBA assay, where colony counts are performed to determine the titer (12). A colorimetric end point required a spectrophotometer, whereas a fluorometric end point required a fluorometer. Prevaccination sera (n = 27) and postvaccination sera (n = 13) were tested by all three methodologies, and the SBA titers obtained in the presence of alamarBlue were compared to those from the standard method. Both the colorimetric and the fluorometric SBA titers were significantly correlated (r = 0.87 and r = 0.95, respectively) with those of the standard assay (≥50% killing as the SBA titer end point), and titers were not significantly different when compared to those of the standard assay (P > 0.68). However, the fluorometric end point had superior performance and ease of titer determination compared to the colorimetric end point (95 versus 87% of SBA titers were within 2 dilutions of the standard titer). Hib SBA assays with alamarBlue are reproducible, faster (same-day assay), and easier to perform than the standardized assay, which requires manual or automated colony counts. These semiautomated methodologies result in increased sample throughput and collection of data in digital formats that can be exported to data analysis programs for determination of SBA titers.
Nonspecific antibodies, which are thought to be nonprotective, have been shown to contribute a substantial proportion of the measured concentration in the standardized immunoglobulin G (IgG) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for pneumococcal polysaccharide capsular antibodies. The presence of such antibodies in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons has not been evaluated. The amount of nonspecific antibodies is proportional to the reduction in IgG antibody concentration that occurs with serum absorption with the heterologous polysaccharide 22F. We measured the amount of nonspecific antibodies before and after vaccination with the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV; n = 33) or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV; n = 34) in HIV-infected adults with CD4 counts of ≥200 cells/mm3. Blood was drawn before and 2 months after vaccination. For prevaccination sera, we found a substantial amount of nonspecific antibodies for serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, and 23F (23 to 47% of measured IgG concentration), but not for serotype 14. There tended to be proportionately less nonspecific antibodies in postvaccine sera than prevaccine sera for PCV, but not for PPV. Subjects with a low HIV viral load (≤400 copies/ml) had proportionately more nonspecific antibodies than those with higher viral load before and after both vaccines. After 22F absorption, the geometric mean concentrations of antibodies were significantly higher post-PCV than post-PPV for the high viral load group for all five serotypes, but for no serotypes in the low viral load group. These findings confirm that absorption with a heterologous pneumococcal polysaccharide (e.g., 22F) is necessary to remove nonspecific antibodies in a standardized IgG ELISA for pneumococcal capsular antibodies in HIV-infected adults.
Opsonophagocytosis is a correlate of protection that measures the functional activity of vaccine-induced antibodies. A standardized opsonophagocytosis assay (OPA) should be used as part of the evaluation of current and future pneumococcal (Pnc) polysaccharide (Ps)-based vaccines. We enrolled five laboratories to evaluate a previously standardized viability OPA. Each laboratory was provided with a detailed OPA protocol, seven target Pnc strains (serotypes 4, 6B, 9V, 14, 18C, 19F, and 23F), two quality control sera and 12 paired sera (blinded) from adult donors who received one dose of the 23-valent Pnc Ps vaccine. Laboratories sent their results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for analysis. Sera were tested in duplicate (single run), and the results were averaged to yield a single OPA titer (≥50% killing) for each serum sample. The percentage of sera within one or two dilutions of the calculated median OPA titer was determined for each laboratory and for each serotype. In general, laboratories were capable of detecting OPA titers within one or two dilutions of the median for at least 75 and 88%, respectively, of the sera tested. The level of agreement with the median OPA titers varied depending on the participating laboratory (overall agreement = 0.8 [99% confidence interval = 0.75 to 0.85]). All OPA median titers reported for quality control sera were within one dilution of the expected titer. We conclude that this OPA can be done in multiple laboratories with a high degree of interlaboratory reproducibility.
The role of pneumococcal (Pnc) surface adhesin A (PsaA) in the adherence of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) to host cells is not well defined. We examined the effect of anti-PsaA antibodies in an inhibition of adherence assay using Detroit 562 nasopharyngeal human epithelial cells. Rabbit polyclonal (Pab) anti-recombinant PsaA (rPsaA) sera, a purified mouse monoclonal antibody (MAb) (MAb 6F62G8E12), and 22 healthy adult sera with known anti-PsaA IgG levels (obtained by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were evaluated for their abilities to inhibit Pnc adherence to confluent monolayers (measured as percent reduction in CFU counts compared to those of uninhibited controls). Pnc adherence was dependent on capsular phenotype (no or low adherence for opaque strains). With an inoculum of 104 to 105 bacteria/well, the mean ± standard deviation count in controls was 163 ± 32 CFU/well for transparent strains. Low adherence was observed for a PsaA-minus mutant even at higher inoculum doses. Mean percent inhibitions of adherence with Pab and MAb were 54 and 50%, respectively. Adult sera showed inhibition in a dose-response fashion with a range of 98 to 8%, depending on the serum anti-PsaA antibody concentration. Absorption of Pab with rPsaA restored Pnc adherence to control levels. Absorption of sera with a PsaA-minus mutant did not result in a significant decrease (P >0.05) of inhibition of adherence activity. Additionally, nearly 100% of Pnc adherence was inhibited by lipidated rPsaA at 2.5 μg/ml. Our data support the argument that PsaA is an adhesin that mediates Pnc adherence to human nasopharyngeal cells. This functional assay may be useful in evaluating antibodies elicited in response to PsaA vaccination.