Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen that can cause fatal acute lung infections in critically ill individuals. Lung damage due to chronic infections in cystic fibrosis sufferers is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in this group. The bacterium produces various immunomodulatory products that enable it to survive in the lung. Innate and increasing resistance to antibiotic therapy shown by this organism heightens the need for development of a vaccine. This study reports the identification of six non-integral protein antigens; Pa 13, azurin, acyl carrier protein (ACP), amidase, aminopeptidase and KatE, purified from a mucoid strain of P. aeruginosa. N-terminal amino acid sequencing was used to identify these proteins and, based on their ascribed functions, determined that their normal cellular location was cytosolic. A rat model of acute pulmonary infection was used to investigate the ability of these protein antigens to enhance pulmonary clearance of a live P. aeruginosa challenge. Mucosal immunisation with four of the six antigens significantly enhanced bacterial clearance from both the lavage fluid and lung tissue. The greatest level of clearance was demonstrated for the antigens; KatE, aminopeptidase and amidase. Enhanced bacterial clearance was maintained when the antigens amidase and aminopeptidase were produced in recombinant form. When delivered parenterally, aminopeptidase demonstrated its continued efficacy as a vaccine candidate. This study has demonstrated that non-integral outer membrane proteins are antigenic and protective and warrant further investigation as potential components of a vaccine.
FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology Vol. 37, Issue 2, p. 155-160