The Hypervariable Region of Streptococcus pyogenes M Protein Escapes Antibody Attack by Antigenic Variation and Weak Immunogenicity.
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Cell host & microbe
Sequence variation of antigenic proteins allows pathogens to evade antibody attack. The variable protein commonly includes a hypervariable region (HVR), which represents a key target for antibodies and is therefore predicted to be immunodominant. To understand the mechanism(s) of antibody evasion, we analyzed the clinically important HVR-containing M proteins of the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. Antibodies elicited by M proteins were directed almost exclusively against the C-terminal part and not against the N-terminal HVR. Similar results were obtained for mice and humans with invasive S. pyogenes infection. Nevertheless, only anti-HVR antibodies protected efficiently against infection, as shown by passive immunizations. The HVR fused to an unrelated protein elicited no antibodies, implying that it is inherently weakly immunogenic. These data indicate that the M protein HVR evades antibody attack not only through antigenic variation but also by weak immunogenicity, a paradoxical observation that may apply to other HVR-containing proteins.
- Medicine and Health Sciences
- ISSN: 1934-6069