Indexed on: 10 Nov '11Published on: 10 Nov '11Published in: FEMS immunology and medical microbiology
The capacity to identify immunogens for vaccine development by genome-wide screening has been markedly enhanced by the availability of microbial genome sequences coupled to proteomic and bioinformatic analysis. Critical to this approach is in vivo testing in the context of a natural host–pathogen relationship, one that includes genetic diversity in the host as well as among pathogen strains. We aggregate the results of three independent genome-wide screens using in vivo immunization and protection against Anaplasma marginale as a model for discovery of vaccine antigens for rickettsial pathogens. In silico analysis identified 62 outer membrane proteins (Omp) from the 949 predicted proteins in the A. marginale genome. These 62 Omps were reduced to 10 vaccine candidates by two independent genome-wide screens using IgG2 from vaccinates protected from challenge following vaccination with outer membranes (screen 1) or bacterial surface complexes (screen 2). Omps with broadly conserved epitopes were identified by immunization with a live heterologous vaccine, A. marginale ssp. centrale (screen 3), reducing the candidates to three. The genome-wide screens identified Omps that have orthologs broadly conserved among rickettsial pathogens, highlighted the importance of identifying immunologically subdominant antigens, and supported the use of reverse vaccinology approaches in vaccine development for rickettsial diseases.