Modified opsonization, phagocytosis, and killing assays to measure potentially protective antibodies against pneumococcal surface protein A

Academic Article


  • The standard opsonophagocytosis killing assay (OPKA) for antibodies to pneumococcal capsular polysaccharide was modified to permit an evaluation of the protection-mediating antibodies to pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA). We found that by increasing the incubation time with the complement and phagocytes from 45 min to 75 min, the protective activity was readily detected. In another modification, we used a capsule type 2 target strain that expressed PspA but not pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC). With these modifications separately or in combination, rabbit antisera to the recombinant α-helical or prolinerich domains of PspA mediated >50% killing of the target strain. The ability of normal human sera to mediate the killing of pneumococci in this modified OPKA correlated with their levels of antibodies to PspA and their ability to protect mice against fatal infection with a type 3 strain. Passive protection of mice against pneumococci and killing in the modified OPKA were lost when normal human sera were adsorbed with recombinant PspA (rPspA) on Sepharose, thus supporting the potential utility of the modified OPKA to detect protective antibodies to PspA. In the standard OPKA, monoclonal antibodies to PspA were strongly protective in the presence of subprotective amounts of anti-capsule. Thus, the currently established high-throughput OPKA for antibodies to capsule could be modified in one of two ways to permit an evaluation of the opsonic efficacy of antibodies to PspA. Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Daniels CC; Kim KH; Burton RL; Mirza S; Walker M; King J; Hale Y; Coan P; Rhee DK; Nahm MH
  • Start Page

  • 1549
  • End Page

  • 1558
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 10