Indexed on: 10 Aug '06Published on: 10 Aug '06Published in: BMC Microbiology
Most group A streptococcal (GAS) vaccine strategies have focused on the surface M protein, a major virulence factor of GAS. The amino-terminus of the M protein elicits antibodies, that are both opsonic and protective, but which are type specific. J14, a chimeric peptide that contains 14 amino acids from the M protein conserved C-region at the carboxy-terminus, offers the possibility of a vaccine which will elicit protective opsonic antibodies against multiple different GAS strains. In this study, we searched for J14 and J14-like sequences and the number of their repeats in the C-region of the M protein from GAS strains isolated from the Northern Thai population. Then, we examined the bactericidal activity of J14, J14.1, J14-R1 and J14-R2 antisera against multiple Thai GAS strains.The emm genes of GAS isolates were sequenced and grouped as 14 different J14-types. The most diversity of J14-types was found in the C1-repeat. The J14.1 type was the major sequence in the C2 and C3-repeats. We have shown that antisera raised against the M protein conserved C-repeat region peptides, J14, J14.1, J14-R1 and J14-R2, commonly found in GAS isolates from the Northern Thai population, are able to kill GAS of multiple different emm types derived from an endemic area. The mean percent of bactericidal activities for all J14 and J14-like peptide antisera against GAS isolates were more than 70%. The mean percent of bactericidal activity was highest for J14 antisera followed by J14-R2, J14.1 and J14-R1 antisera.Our study demonstrated that antisera raised against the M protein conserved C-repeat region are able to kill multiple different strains of GAS isolated from the Northern Thai population. Therefore, the four conserved "J14" peptides have the potential to be used as GAS vaccine candidates to prevent streptococcal infections in an endemic area.