Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) is serologically highly variable and is expressed by all clinically important capsular serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae

Academic Article


  • Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) has been shown previously to elicit antibodies protective against pneumococcal infection and to be necessary for full pneumococcal virulence in mice. The protein was originally defined by the two mouse monoclonal antibodies Xi64 and Xi126, which together recognized PspA on 14% of pneumococcal isolates. Some PspA molecules reacted with both antibodies, but most reacted with only one or the other. In the present study we demonstrated that PspA is produced by all pneumococci, confirming our hypothesis that there are variants of PspA which are not detected by Xi64 and Xi126. We produced a rabbit antiserum and five additional monoclonal antibodies specific for PspA for these studies. The rabbit antiserum reacted with each of 95 pneumococcal isolates tested, comprising 16 capsular serotypes. One or more of the seven monoclonal anti-PspA antibodies reacted with 95% (53 of 57) of pneumococcal isolates tested. The specificity of the monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies to PspA was confirmed in two ways: (i) by detection of molecules on wild-type pneumococci that are identical in molecular weight to those detected in Western blots (immunoblots) with Xi64 and Xi126 and (ii) by the use of mutants of Streptococcus pneumoniae that fail to produce PspA or that produce a truncated form of PspA. By using the seven monoclonal antibodies, we observed 31 PspA types among the 57 isolates. When the 53 strains reactive with the monoclonal antibodies were analyzed by capsular type as well as by serologic type and molecular weight of PspA, we observed 50 different clonotypes of pneumococci.
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    Author List

  • Crain MJ; Waltman WD; Turner JS; Yother J; Talkington DF; McDaniel LS; Gray BM; Briles DE
  • Start Page

  • 3293
  • End Page

  • 3299
  • Volume

  • 58
  • Issue

  • 10