Multivalent group A streptococcal vaccine elicits bactericidal antibodies against variant M subtypes

James B. Dale*, Thomas Penfound, Edna Y. Chiang, Valerie Long, Stanford T. Shulman, Bernard Beall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Group A streptococci cause a wide spectrum of clinical illness. One of several strategies for vaccine prevention of these infections is based on the type-specific M protein epitopes. A multivalent M protein-based vaccine containing type-specific determinants from 26 different M serotypes is now in clinical trials. Recent epidemiologic studies have shown that, within some serotypes, the amino-terminal M protein sequence may show natural variation, giving rise to subtypes. This raises the possibility that vaccine-induced antibodies against the parent type may not be as effective in promoting bactericidal killing of variant subtypes. In the present study we used rabbit antisera against the 26-valent M protein-based vaccine in bactericidal tests against M1, M3, and M5 streptococci, which were represented by multiple subtypes. We show that the vaccine antibodies effectively promoted in vitro bactericidal activity despite the fact that the M proteins contained naturally occurring variant sequences in the regions corresponding to the vaccine sequence. Our results show that the variant M proteins generally do not result in significant differences in opsonization promoted by rabbit antisera raised against the 26-valent vaccine, suggesting that a multivalent M protein vaccine may not permit variant subtypes of group A streptococci to escape in a highly immunized population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-836
Number of pages4
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)


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