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Title: Evaluation of a potential vaccine against hyperinvasive serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis by assessment of the effects of surface-expressed Opacity-associated proteins on the immune system
Author: Sadarangani, Manish
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 9005
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Neisseria meningitidis causes 500,000 cases of meningitis and septicaemia annually worldwide, with a mortality rate of approximately 10%. Most disease in developed countries is caused by serogroup B infection, against which there is no universal vaccine. Opa proteins are major meningococcal outer membrane proteins, and a limited number of Opa variants have been associated with hyperinvasive serogroup B meningococci, suggesting their use as a potential novel vaccine. Immunisation of mice with recombinant Opa elicited high levels of meningococcal-specific serum bactericidal antibody (SBA), demonstrating proof in principle of this approach. Opa proteins mediate bacterial adherence to host cells and modulate human cellular immunity, and there are conflicting data regarding their effects on CD4⁺ T cells. opa genes from N. meningitidis strain H44/76 were cloned into the plasmid vector pBluescript, disrupted using antibiotic resistance cassettes and transformed into H44/76 to sequentially disrupt the four opa genes. This produced a unique panel of 15 isogenic Opa-deficient strains, including an Opa-negative strain, which enabled investigation of the immunomodulatory role of surface-expressed Opa proteins. There was no consistent effect of Opa expressed on the surface of OMVs and inactivated bacteria on CD4⁺ T cells, with significant heterogeneity of responses between individuals. The rate of Opa phase variation was between 10-3 and 10-4, and increased 180-fold following transformation of bacteria with unrelated DNA. These data support further investigation of Opa as a potential meningococcal vaccine component, and highlight the importance of host and bacterial factors in the development of OMV vaccines.
Supervisor: Pollard, Andrew J. Sponsor: Action Medical Research
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Infectious diseases ; Immunology ; Disease prevention ; Meningitis ; Vaccinology ; homologous recombination ; Neisseria meningitidis ; Opa protein ; phase variation ; serogroup B ; T cell ; vaccine