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<ns4:p><ns4:italic>Neisseria meningitidis</ns4:italic> is a major cause of bacterial meningitis and a considerable health problem in the 25 countries of the ‘African Meningitis Belt’ that extends from Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia in the East. Approximately 80% of cases of meningococcal meningitis in Africa have been caused by strains belonging to capsular serogroup A. After the introduction of a serogroup A conjugate polysaccharide vaccine, MenAfriVac<ns4:sup>™</ns4:sup>, that began in December 2010, the incidence of meningitis due to serogroup A has markedly declined in this region. Currently, serogroup W of <ns4:italic>N. meningitidis</ns4:italic> accounts for the majority of cases. Vaccines based on sub-capsular antigens, such as Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA), are under investigation for use in Africa. To analyse the antigenic properties of a serogroup W wave of colonisation and disease, we investigated the molecular diversity of the protein vaccine antigens PorA, Neisserial Adhesin A (NadA), Neisserial heparin-binding antigen (NHBA) and factor H binding protein (fHbp) of 31 invasive and carriage serogroup W isolates collected as part of a longitudinal study from Ghana and Burkina Faso between 2003 and 2009. We found that the isolates all expressed fHbp variant 2 ID 22 or 23, differing from each other by only one amino acid, and a single PorA subtype of P1.5,2. Of the isolates, 49% had a functional <ns4:italic>nhbA </ns4:italic>gene and 100% had the <ns4:italic>nadA</ns4:italic> allele 3, which contained the insertion sequence <ns4:italic>IS1301</ns4:italic> in five isolates. Of the W isolates tested, 41% had high fHbp expression when compared with a reference serogroup B strain, known to be a high expresser of fHbp variant 2. Our results indicate that in this collection of serogroup W isolates, there is limited antigenic diversification over time of vaccine candidate outer membrane proteins (OMP), thus making them promising candidates for inclusion in a protein-based vaccine against meningococcal meningitis for Africa.</ns4:p>

Original publication

DOI

10.12688/f1000research.3881.1

Type

Journal article

Journal

F1000Research

Publisher

F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date

03/11/2014

Volume

3

Pages

264 - 264