Research ArticleVACCINATION

A semisynthetic Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 8 glycoconjugate vaccine

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Science Translational Medicine  08 Mar 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 380, eaaf5347
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaf5347

Pruning out nonprotective glycotopes

Pediatric vaccines targeting bacterial capsular polysaccharides are more effective for certain types of bugs than others, and the manufacturing process as well as immunodominance of different glycan epitopes (glycotopes) can lead to a mixed immune response that does not protect against disease. To directly identify glycotopes that induce a protective response, Schumann et al. combined antibody reverse engineering with automated glycan assembly using Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 8 as a proof of concept. Promising glycotopes conjugated to a carrier protein induced protective antibodies in mice and were also immunogenic in rabbits. When combined with a commercially available pneumococcal vaccine, these glycoconjugates were able to boost the opsonophagocytic bacterial killing ability of sera from immunized rabbits. This approach leveraging semisynthetic glycoconjugates could lead to the design of more effective bacterial vaccines.