Background: Several Streptococcus pneumoniae proteins play a role in pathogenesis and are being investigated as vaccine targets. It is largely unknown whether naturally acquired antibodies reduce the risk of colonization with strains expressing a particular antigenic variant.
Methods: Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers to 28 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured among 242 individuals aged <6 months-78 years in Native American communities between 2007 and 2009. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected >- 30 days after serum collection, and the antigen variant in each pneumococcal isolate was determined using genomic data. We assessed the association between preexisting variant-specific antibody titers and subsequent carriage of pneumococcus expressing a particular antigen variant.
Results: Antibody titers often increased across pediatric groups before decreasing among adults. Individuals with low titers against group 3 pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC) variants were more likely to be colonized with pneumococci expressing those variants. For other antigens, variant-specific IgG titers do not predict colonization.
Conclusion: We observed an inverse association between variant-specific antibody concentration and homologous pneumococcal colonization for only 1 protein. Further assessment of antibody repertoires may elucidate the nature of antipneumococcal antibody-mediated mucosal immunity while informing vaccine development.
Keywords: PspA; PspC; Streptococcus pneumoniae; immunology; pilus; pneumococci; protein antigens; sera; vaccine; antibody.
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