Opsonic potential, protective capacity, and sequence conservation of the Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum Tp92

J Infect Dis. 2000 Apr;181(4):1401-13. doi: 10.1086/315399. Epub 2000 Apr 13.


By means of a differential screening technique, a 92-kDa antigen, designated Tp92, was identified from Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. This protein is similar in sequence to the protective surface antigens D15 from Haemophilus influenzae and Oma87 from Pasteurella multocida. Amino acid sequence analyses revealed a cleavable N-terminal signal sequence and predicted the outer membrane location for Tp92. In support of this, antiserum raised against recombinant Tp92 promotes opsonization and phagocytosis of T. pallidum by rabbit macrophages, and anti-Tp92 reactivity is absent from washed treponemal preparations presumed to be lacking outer membranes. The Tp92 amino acid sequence is 95.5%-100% conserved among 11 strains representing 4 pathogenic treponemes, and immunization with recombinant Tp92 partially protected rabbits from subsequent T. pallidum challenge. These results demonstrate that Tp92 is an invariant, immunoprotective antigen that may be present on the surface of T. pallidum and may represent a potential vaccine candidate for syphilis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Surface / chemistry*
  • Antigens, Surface / immunology*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Opsonin Proteins*
  • Phagocytosis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rabbits
  • Surface Properties
  • Syphilis / prevention & control
  • Treponema pallidum / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Opsonin Proteins
  • Tp92 antigen, Treponema pallidum