Recombinant Bacillus anthracis spore proteins enhance protection of mice primed with suboptimal amounts of protective antigen.Vaccine 2008; 26(38):4927-39V
Inactivated Bacillus anthracis spores given with protective antigen (PA) contribute to immunity against anthrax in several animal models. Antiserum raised against whole irradiated B. anthracis spores has been shown to have anti-germination and opsonic activities in vitro. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that surface-exposed spore proteins might serve as supplemental components of a PA-based anthrax vaccine. The protective anti-spore serum was tested for reactivity with recombinant forms of 30 proteins known, or believed to be, present within the B. anthracis exosporium. Eleven of those proteins were reactive with this antiserum, and, subsequently a subset of this group was used to generate rabbit polyclonal antibodies. These sera were evaluated for recognition of the immunogens on intact spores generated from Sterne strain, as well as from an isogenic mutant lacking the spore surface protein Bacillus collagen-like antigen (BclA). The data were consistent with the notion that the antigens in question were located beneath BclA on the basal surface of the exosporium. A/J mice immunized with either the here-to-for hypothetical protein p5303 or the structural protein BxpB, each in combination with subprotective levels of PA, showed enhanced protection against subcutaneous spore challenge. While neither anti-BxpB or anti-p5303 antibodies reduced the rate of spore germination in vitro, both caused increased uptake and lead to a higher rate of destruction by phagocytic cells. We conclude that by facilitating more efficient phagocytic clearance of spores, antibodies against individual exosporium components can contribute to protection against B. anthracis infection.