Improving the Pneumococcus Vaccine

June 02, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3 minutes

To keep you updated on the latest Biotechnology industry news, Lab.Equipment has handpicked this interesting article from Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN) for you:

Vaccines that protect people from infection by Streptococcus pneumoniae, which kills up to one million children ever year worldwide, train the immune system to recognize the pathogen’s thick sugar capsule. Pneumococcus capsules are not only the active ingredient in vaccines; they’re also key to the pathogen’s virulence.

But different strains have different capsules, which means vaccine researchers need to identify all capsule types. Pneumococcus experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham this week describe “A New Pneumococcal Capsule Type, 10D, is the 100th Serotype and Has a Large cps Fragment from an Oral Streptococcus” in mBio, a newly-found capsule—the 100th to be identified since the pathogen was first discovered in the late 19th century.

“Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) is a major human pathogen producing structurally diverse capsular polysaccharides. Widespread use of highly successful pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) targeting pneumococcal capsules has greatly reduced infections by the vaccine types but increased infections by nonvaccine serotypes,” write the investigators.

“Herein, we report a new and the 100th capsule type, named serotype 10D, by determining its unique chemical structure and biosynthetic roles of all capsule synthesis locus (cps) genes. The name 10D reflects its serologic cross-reaction with serotype 10A and appearance of cross-opsonic antibodies in response to immunization with 10A polysaccharide in a 23-valent pneumococcal vaccine.

“Genetic analysis showed that 10D cps has three large regions syntenic to and highly homologous with cps loci from serotype 6C, serotype 39, and an oral streptococcus strain (S. mitis SK145). The 10D cps region syntenic to SK145 is about 6 kb and has a short gene fragment of wciNα at the 5′ end. The presence of t... Read more at the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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