Analysis of PorA variable region 3 in meningococci: implications for vaccine policy?

Vaccine. 2003 Jun 2;21(19-20):2468-73. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(03)00033-1.


Outer membrane protein (OMP) vaccines are being developed against Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B which may provide protection against common circulating serotypes and serosubtypes in some countries. However, limited data is available in Europe from genosubtyping meningococci. We therefore undertook a retrospective analysis of the three main variable regions, VR1, VR2 as well as VR3, of the porA gene from N. meningitidis isolated from different countries, mainly from Scotland and Sweden. Analysis of this gene showed that, amongst 226 strains studied, there were a total of 78 different strains. No new VR1 or VR2 alleles were found but five new VR3 alleles are described. Our data indicates the importance of analysing the VR3 region of PorA in addition to VR1 and VR2 and also highlights, in general terms, the need for genosubtyping meningococci. Such analyses have major implications for the design of new meningococcal vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Europe
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genotype
  • Neisseria meningitidis / classification
  • Neisseria meningitidis / genetics
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology*
  • Porins / chemistry
  • Porins / genetics*
  • Porins / immunology


  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Porins
  • porin protein, Neisseria