The soluble recombinant Neisseria meningitidis adhesin NadA(Δ351-405) stimulates human monocytes by binding to extracellular Hsp90

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e25089. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025089. Epub 2011 Sep 16.


The adhesin NadA favors cell adhesion/invasion by hypervirulent Neisseria meningitidis B (MenB). Its recombinant form NadA(Δ351-405,) devoid of the outer membrane domain, is an immunogenic candidate for an anti-MenB vaccine able to stimulate monocytes, macrophages and dendritic cells. In this study we investigated the molecular mechanism of NadA(Δ351-405) cellular effects in monocytes. We show that NadA(Δ351-405) (against which we obtained polyclonal antibodies in rabbits), binds to hsp90, but not to other extracellular homologous heat shock proteins grp94 and hsp70, in vitro and on the surface of monocytes, in a temperature dependent way. Pre-incubation of monocytes with the MenB soluble adhesin interfered with the binding of anti-hsp90 and anti-hsp70 antibodies to hsp90 and hsp70 at 37°C, a condition in which specific cell-binding occurs, but not at 0°C, a condition in which specific cell-binding is very diminished. Conversely, pre-incubation of monocytes with anti-hsp90 and anti-hsp70 antibodies did not affected NadA(Δ351-405) cell binding in any temperature condition, indicating that it associates to another receptor on their plasma membrane and then laterally diffuses to encounter hsp90. Consistently, polymixin B interfered with NadA(Δ351-405) /hsp90 association, abrogated the decrease of anti-hsp90 antibodies binding to the cell surface due to NadA(Δ351-405) and inhibited adhesin-induced cytokine/chemokine secretion without affecting monocyte-adhesin binding. Co-stimulation of monocytes with anti-hsp90 antibodies and NadA(Δ351-405) determined a stronger but polymixin B insensitive cell activation. This indicated that the formation of a recombinant NadA/hsp90/hsp70 complex, although essential for full monocyte stimulation, can be replaced by anti-hsp90 antibody/hsp90 binding. Finally, the activation of monocytes by NadA(Δ351-405) alone or in the presence of anti-hsp90 antibodies were both inhibited by neutralizing anti-TLR4 antibodies, but not by anti-TLR2 antibodies. We propose that hsp90-dependent recruitment into an hsp90/hsp70/TLR4 transducing signal complex is necessary for the immune-stimulating activity of NadA(Δ351-405) anti-MenB vaccine candidate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesins, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Male
  • Meningococcal Infections / immunology
  • Meningococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Meningococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Neisseria meningitidis / immunology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / metabolism*
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Rabbits
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism


  • Adhesins, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cytokines
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • NadA protein, Neisseria meningitidis
  • Peptide Fragments
  • TLR4 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4