Mucosal immunization with recombinant fusion protein DnaJ-ΔA146Ply enhances cross-protective immunity against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in mice via interleukin 17A

Infect Immun. 2014 Apr;82(4):1666-75. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01391-13. Epub 2014 Feb 3.


Pneumolysin (Ply) and its variants are protective against pneumococcal infections in animal models, and as a Toll-like receptor 4 agonist, pneumolysin has been reported to be a mucosal adjuvant. DnaJ has been approved as a useful candidate vaccine protein; we therefore designed novel fusion proteins of DnaJ with a form of Ply that has a deletion of A146 (ΔA146Ply-DnaJ [the C terminus of ΔA146Ply connected with the N terminus of DnaJ] and DnaJ-ΔA146Ply [the C terminus of DnaJ connected with the N terminus of ΔA146Ply]) to test whether they are protective against focal and lethal pneumococcal infections and their potential protective mechanisms. The purified proteins were used to intranasally immunize the animals without additional adjuvant. Immunization with DnaJ-ΔA146Ply or DnaJ plus ΔA146Ply (Ply with a single deletion of A146) could significantly reduce S. pneumoniae colonization in the nasopharynx and lung relative with DnaJ alone. Additionally, we observed the best protection for DnaJ-ΔA146Ply-immunized mice after challenge with lethal doses of S. pneumoniae strains, which was comparable to that achieved by PPV23. Mice immunized with DnaJ-ΔA146Ply produced significantly higher levels of anti-DnaJ IgG in serum and secretory IgA (sIgA) in saliva than those immunized with DnaJ alone. The production of IL-17A was also striking in DnaJ-ΔA146Ply-immunized mice. IL-17A knockout (KO) mice did not benefit from DnaJ-ΔA146Ply immunization in colonization experiments, and sIgA production was impaired in IL-17A KO mice. Collectively, our results indicate a mucosal adjuvant potential for ΔA146Ply and that, without additional adjuvant, DnaJ-ΔA146Ply fusion protein exhibits extensive immune stimulation and is effective against pneumococcal challenges, properties which are partially attributed to the IL-17A-mediated immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Immunity, Mucosal / immunology
  • Immunoglobulins / blood
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pneumococcal Infections / immunology*
  • Pneumococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines / immunology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Interleukin-17
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • surface layer protein A, Bacteria