Long-Term Antibody Memory Induced by Synthetic Peptide Vaccination Is Protective against Streptococcus pyogenes Infection and Is Independent of Memory T Cell Help
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Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) is a leading human pathogen associated with a diverse array of mucosal and systemic infections. Vaccination with J8, a conserved region synthetic peptide derived from the M-protein of GAS and containing only 12 aa from GAS, when conjugated to diphtheria toxoid, has been shown to protect mice against a lethal GAS challenge. Protection has been previously shown to be Ab-mediated. J8 does not contain a dominant GAS-specific T cell epitope. The current study examined long-term Ab memory and dissected the role of B and T cells. Our results demonstrated that vaccination generates specific memory B cells (MBC) and long-lasting Ab responses. The MBC response can be activated following boost with Ag or limiting numbers of whole bacteria. We further show that these memory responses protect against systemic infection with GAS. T cell help is required for activation of MBC but can be provided by naive T cells responding directly to GAS at the time of infection. Thus, individuals whose T cells do not recognize the short synthetic peptide in the vaccine will be able to generate a protective and rapid memory Ab response at the time of infection. These studies significantly strengthen previous findings, which showed that protection by the J8-diphtheria toxoid vaccine is Ab-mediated and suggest that in vaccine design for other organisms the source of T cell help for Ab responses need not be limited to sequences from the organism itself.
Journal of Immunology
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Applied Immunology (incl. Antibody Engineering, Xenotransplantation and T-cell Therapies)