Streptococcus pneumoniae fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase, a protein vaccine candidate, elicits Th1/Th2/Th17-type cytokine responses in mice Academic Article uri icon


  • Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae) is a major pathogen worldwide. The currently available polysaccharide-based vaccines significantly reduce morbidity and mortality. However, the inherent disadvantages of the currently available polysaccharide-based vaccines have motivated the search for other bacterial immunogens capable of eliciting a protective immune response against S. pneumoniae. Fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (FBA) is a glycolytic enzyme, which was found to localize to the bacterial surface, where it functions as an adhesin. Previously, immunizing mice with recombinant FBA (rFBA) in the presence of alum elicited a protective immune response against a lethal challenge with S. pneumoniae. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine the cytokine responses that are indicative of protective immunity following immunization with rFBA. The protective effects against pneumococcal challenge in mice immunized with rFBA with complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) in the initial immunization and with incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) in booster immunizations surpassed the protective effects observed following immunization with either rFBA + alum or pVACfba. CD4+ T-cells obtained from the rFBA/CFA/IFA/IFA-immunized mice co-cultured with rFBA-pulsed antigen-presenting cells (APCs), exhibited a significantly greater proliferative ability than CD4+ T-cells obtained from the adjuvant-immunized mice co-cultured with rFBA‑pulsed APCs. The levels of the Th1-type cytokines, interferon (IFN)-γ, interleukin (IL)-2, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-12, the Th2-type cytokines, IL-4, IL-5 and IL-10, and the Th17-type cytokine, IL-17A, significantly increased within 72 h of the initiation of co-culture with CD4+ T-cells obtained from the rFBA‑immunized mice, in comparison with the co-cultures with CD4+ T-cells obtained from the adjuvant-immunized mice. Immunizing mice with rFBA resulted in an IgG1/IgG2 ratio of 41, indicating a Th2 response with substantial Th1 involvement. In addition, rabbit and mouse anti-rFBA antisera significantly protected the mice against a lethal S. pneumoniae challenge in comparison with preimmune sera. Our results emphasize the mixed involvement of the Th1, Th2 and Th17 arms of the immune system in response to immunization with pneumococcal rFBA, a potential vaccine candidate.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016