Evaluation of protective potential of Yersinia pestis outer membrane protein antigens as possible candidates for a new-generation recombinant plague vaccine

Tatiana E. Erova, Jason A. Rosenzweig, Jian Sha, Giovanni Suarez, Johanna C. Sierra, Michelle L. Kirtley, Christina J. Van Lier, Maxim V. Telepnev, Vladimir Motin, Ashok Chopra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Plague caused by Yersinia pestis manifests itself in bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic forms. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved levofloxacin, there is no approved human vaccine against plague. The capsular antigen F1 and the low-calcium-response V antigen (LcrV) of Y. pestis represent excellent vaccine candidates; however, the inability of the immune responses to F1 and LcrV to provide protection against Y. pestis F1- strains or those which harbor variants of LcrV is a significant concern. Here, we show that the passive transfer of hyperimmune sera from rats infected with the plague bacterium and rescued by levofloxacin protected naive animals against pneumonic plague. Furthermore, 10 to 12 protein bands from wild-type (WT) Y. pestis CO92 reacted with the aforementioned hyperimmune sera upon Western blot analysis. Based on mass spectrometric analysis, four of these proteins were identified as attachment invasion locus (Ail/OmpX), plasminogen-activating protease (Pla), outer membrane protein A (OmpA), and F1. The genes encoding these proteins were cloned, and the recombinant proteins purified from Escherichia coli for immunization purposes before challenging mice and rats with either the F1- mutant or WT CO92 in bubonic and pneumonic plague models. Although antibodies to Ail and OmpA protected mice against bubonic plague when challenged with the F1- CO92 strain, Pla antibodies were protective against pneumonic plague. In the rat model, antibodies to Ail provided protection only against pneumonic plague after WT CO92 challenge. Together, the addition of Y. pestis outer membrane proteins to a new-generation recombinant vaccine could provide protection against a wide variety of Y. pestis strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology (medical)

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