Research Article

Evaluation of the humoral immune response in BALB/c mice immunized with a naked DNA vaccine anti-methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Published: August 11, 2006
Genet. Mol. Res. 5 (3) : 503-512

Abstract

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the major pathogen involved in nosocomial infections, leading to high rates of morbidity and mortality in hospitals worldwide. The methicillin resistance occurs due to the presence of an additional penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, which has low affinity for b-lactam antibiotics. In the past few years, vancomycin has been the only antibiotic option for treatment of infections caused by multiresistant MRSA; however, reports of vancomycin-resistant strains have generated great concerns regarding the treatment to overcome these infections. In the present study, we report preliminary results regarding the humoral immune response generated in BALB/c mice by two different doses of naked DNA vaccine containing an internal region, comprising the serine-protease domain, of the PBP2a of MRSA. The immunization procedure consisted of four immunizations given intramuscularly within 15-day intervals. Blood was collect weekly and anti-PBP2a-specific antibodies were screened by ELISA. BALB/c mice immunized with DNA vaccine anti-PBP2a have shown higher antibody titers mainly after the fourth immunization, and intriguingly, no correlation between the humoral immune response and DNA dose was observed. Our results suggest that the DNA vaccine anti-PBP2a induced an immune response by production of specific antibodies anti-MRSA in a non-dose-dependent manner, and it could represent a new and valuable approach to produce specific antibodies for passive immunization to overcome MRSA infections.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the major pathogen involved in nosocomial infections, leading to high rates of morbidity and mortality in hospitals worldwide. The methicillin resistance occurs due to the presence of an additional penicillin-binding protein, PBP2a, which has low affinity for b-lactam antibiotics. In the past few years, vancomycin has been the only antibiotic option for treatment of infections caused by multiresistant MRSA; however, reports of vancomycin-resistant strains have generated great concerns regarding the treatment to overcome these infections. In the present study, we report preliminary results regarding the humoral immune response generated in BALB/c mice by two different doses of naked DNA vaccine containing an internal region, comprising the serine-protease domain, of the PBP2a of MRSA. The immunization procedure consisted of four immunizations given intramuscularly within 15-day intervals. Blood was collect weekly and anti-PBP2a-specific antibodies were screened by ELISA. BALB/c mice immunized with DNA vaccine anti-PBP2a have shown higher antibody titers mainly after the fourth immunization, and intriguingly, no correlation between the humoral immune response and DNA dose was observed. Our results suggest that the DNA vaccine anti-PBP2a induced an immune response by production of specific antibodies anti-MRSA in a non-dose-dependent manner, and it could represent a new and valuable approach to produce specific antibodies for passive immunization to overcome MRSA infections.

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