Development of engineered vaccines effective against structurally related bacterial superantigens

Vaccine. 1998 Nov;16(19):1857-64. doi: 10.1016/s0264-410x(98)00176-5.


Staphylococcal and streptococcal superantigens are exotoxins that may be linked to many human pathologies involving impaired immune functions. Despite considerable sequence divergence, bacterial superantigens share extensive secondary and tertiary structure and use similar structural strategies to bind major histocompatibility complex class II receptors. We produced by site-directed mutagenesis of the conserved receptor-binding surfaces of the superantigens staphylococcal enterotoxins A and B. These vaccines protected immunized mice and rhesus monkeys from lethal toxic shock. In addition, antibodies produced against each superantigen recognized and neutralized distantly related superantigens. This antibody cross-reactivity was additive in that mixtures of superantigens used in immunization were more effective than single-component vaccines in protecting mice from challenges with individual or mixed superantigens. We conclude that an optimal combination of these genetically attenuated superantigen vaccines may protect against all structurally related superantigens.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / chemistry
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / genetics*
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Enterotoxins / chemistry
  • Enterotoxins / immunology
  • Enterotoxins / metabolism
  • HLA-DR1 Antigen / immunology
  • HLA-DR1 Antigen / metabolism
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Protein Conformation
  • Superantigens / chemistry
  • Superantigens / genetics
  • Superantigens / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Enterotoxins
  • HLA-DR1 Antigen
  • Superantigens
  • enterotoxin A, Staphylococcal
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal