Pneumococcal diversity: Considerations for new vaccine strategies with emphasis on pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA)

Academic Article


  • Streptococcus pneumoniae is a problematic infectious agent, whose seriousness to human health has been underscored by the recent rise in the frequency of isolation of multidrug-resistant strains. Pneumococcal pneumonia in the elderly is common and often fatal. Young children in the developing world are at significant risk for fatal pneumococcal respiratory disease, while in the developed world otitis media in children results in substantial economic costs. Immunocompromised patients are extremely susceptible to pneumococcal infection. With 90 different capsular types thus far described, the diversity of pneumococci contributes to the challenges of preventing and treating S. pneumoniae infections. The current capsular polysaccharide vaccine is not recommended for use in children younger than 2 years and is not fully effective in the elderly. Therefore, innovative vaccine strategies to protect against this agent are needed. Given the immunogenic nature of S. pneumoniae proteins, these molecules are being investigated as potential vaccine candidates. Pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) has been evaluated for its ability to elicit protection against S. pneumoniae infection in mouse models of systemic and local disease. This review focuses on immune systems responsiveness to PspA and the ability of PspA to elicit cross-protection against heterologous strains. These parameters will be critical to the design of broadly protective pneumococcal vaccines.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Briles DE; Tart RC; Swiatlo E; Dillard JP; Smith P; Benton KA; Ralph BA; Brooks-Walter A; Crain MJ; Hollingshead SK
  • Start Page

  • 645
  • End Page

  • 657
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 4