An intermolecular mechanism of T cell help for the production of antibodies to the bacterial pathogen, Chlamydia trachomatis

Eur J Immunol. 1993 May;23(5):1169-72. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830230529.


Antibodies that neutralize infectivity are directed at the antigenically variant major outer membrane protein (MOMP) of Chlamydia trachomatis. A vaccine for chlamydia will need to include T cell determinants that elicit T helper (Th) cells which provide help to MOMP-specific B cells. A limited number of determinants on MOMP are able to elicit Th cells and sequence diversity in the MOMP molecule may alter T cell recognition of these determinants. We investigated whether two sequence invariant proteins of C. trachomatis that are both abundant and immunogenic could elicit T cell help for the production of antibody to MOMP. We found that outer membrane protein 2 (OMP2) but not outer membrane protein 3 (OMP3) was able to prime BALB/c mice for an anamnestic anti-MOMP response following boost with the intact organism. This demonstration of an intermolecular mechanism of T cell help in a bacterial system has important implications for the development of a chlamydial vaccine as well as the design of vaccines for other antigenically variant non-viral pathogens.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / immunology*
  • Glutathione Transferase / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Glutathione Transferase