Distribution of pneumococcal surface protein A families 1 and 2 among Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from children in Finland who had acute otitis media or were nasopharyngeal carriers

Academic Article


  • PspA is a structurally variable surface protein important to the virulence of pneumococci. PspAs are serologically cross-reactive and exist as two major families. In this study, we determined the distribution of PspA families 1 and 2 among pneumococcal strains isolated from the middle ear fluid (MEF) of children with acute otitis media and from nasopharyngeal specimens of children with pneumococcal carriage. We characterized the association between the two PspA families, capsular serotypes, and multilocus sequence types (STs) of the pneumococcal isolates. MEF isolates (n = 201) of 109 patients and nasopharyngeal isolates (n = 173) of 49 children were PspA family typed by whole-cell enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Genetic typing (PCR) of PspA family was done for 60 isolates to confirm EIA typing results. The prevalences of PspA families 1 and 2 were similar among pneumococci isolated from MEF (51% and 45%, respectively) and nasopharyngeal specimens (48% each). Isolates of certain capsule types as well as isolates of certain STs showed statistical associations with either family 1 or family 2 PspA. Pneumococci from seven children with multiple pneumococcal isolates appeared to express serologically different PspA families in different isolates of the same serotype; in three of the children the STs of the isolates were the same, suggesting that antigenic changes in the PspA expressed may have taken place. The majority of the isolates (97%) belonged to either PspA family 1 or family 2, suggesting that a combination including the two main PspA families would make a good vaccine candidate. Copyright © 2008, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 10972115
  • Author List

  • Melin MM; Hollingshead SK; Briles DE; Hanage WP; Lahdenkari M; Kaijalainen T; Kilpi TM; Käyhty HM
  • Start Page

  • 1555
  • End Page

  • 1563
  • Volume

  • 15
  • Issue

  • 10