Association of pneumococcal protein antigen serology with age and antigenic profile of colonizing isolates

Taj Azarian, Lindsay Renee Grant, Maria Georgieva, Laura L Hammitt, Raymond Reid, Stephen D. Bentley, David Goldblatt, Mathuram Santosham, Robert C Weatherholtz, Paula Burbidge, Novalene Goklish, Claudette M. Thompson, William P. Hanage, Katherine L O'Brien, Marc Lipsitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Several Streptococcus pneumoniae proteins play a role in pathogenesis and are being investigated as vaccine targets. It is largely unknown whether naturally acquired antibodies reduce the risk of colonization with strains expressing a particular antigenic variant. Methods. Serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers to 28 pneumococcal protein antigens were measured among 242 individuals aged <6 months-78 years in Native American communities between 2007 and 2009. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected ≥ 30 days after serum collection, and the antigen variant in each pneumococcal isolate was determined using genomic data. We assessed the association between preexisting variant-specific antibody titers and subsequent carriage of pneumococcus expressing a particular antigen variant. Results. Antibody titers often increased across pediatric groups before decreasing among adults. Individuals with low titers against group 3 pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC) variants were more likely to be colonized with pneumococci expressing those variants. For other antigens, variant-specific IgG titers do not predict colonization. Conclusion. We observed an inverse association between variant-specific antibody concentration and homologous pneumococcal colonization for only 1 protein. Further assessment of antibody repertoires may elucidate the nature of antipneumococcal antibody-mediated mucosal immunity while informing vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Antibody
  • Immunology
  • Pilus
  • Pneumococci
  • Protein antigens
  • PspA
  • PspC
  • Sera
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Infectious Diseases

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