register interest

Professor Calman A MacLennan FRCP FRCPath

Research Area: Immunology
Scientific Themes: Immunology & Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: vaccines, bacteria, salmonella, immunity, antibody, Africa

My main research objective is to understand the immunological basis of protection against invasive bacterial disease with a view to prevention and treatment, focusing on communities in resource-limited settings and patients with impaired immunity. My programme at the Jenner Institute aims to combine improved understanding of naturally-acquired immunity and vaccine-induced immunity to invasive bacteria, focusing on Salmonella, with a view to the development of effective and affordable vaccines against these pathogens for use in the developing world. This work involves partnership and collaboration with sites in low-income countries and exploitation of effective and affordable vaccine technologies, such as Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA).

Name Department Institution Country
Professor Gordon Dougan FRS Microbial Pathogenesis Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute United Kingdom
Professor Adam F Cunningham Immunity and Infection University of Birmingham United Kingdom
Dr Francesca Micoli Vaccine Chemistry Sclavo Behring Vaccine Institute for Global Health Italy
Professor Andrew Pollard Jenner Institute Oxford University, Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine United Kingdom
Dr Melita A Gordon MRCP Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme Malawi
Dr Piero Mastroeni Veterinary Medicine University of Cambridge United Kingdom
Zhang Y, Dominguez-Medina C, Cumley NJ, Heath JN, Essex SJ, Bobat S, Schager A, Goodall M, Kracker S, Buckley CD et al. 2017. IgG1 Is Required for Optimal Protection after Immunization with the Purified Porin OmpD from Salmonella Typhimurium. J Immunol, 199 (12), pp. 4103-4109. | Show Abstract | Read more

In mice, the IgG subclass induced after Ag encounter can reflect the nature of the Ag. Th2 Ags such as alum-precipitated proteins and helminths induce IgG1, whereas Th1 Ags, such as Salmonella Typhimurium, predominantly induce IgG2a. The contribution of different IgG isotypes to protection against bacteria such as S. Typhimurium is unclear, although as IgG2a is induced by natural infection, it is assumed this isotype is important. Previously, we have shown that purified S. Typhimurium porins including outer membrane protein OmpD, which induce both IgG1 and IgG2a in mice, provide protection to S. Typhimurium infection via Ab. In this study we report the unexpected finding that mice lacking IgG1, but not IgG2a, are substantially less protected after porin immunization than wild-type controls. IgG1-deficient mice produce more porin-specific IgG2a, resulting in total IgG levels that are similar to wild-type mice. The decreased protection in IgG1-deficient mice correlates with less efficient bacterial opsonization and uptake by macrophages, and this reflects the low binding of outer membrane protein OmpD-specific IgG2a to the bacterial surface. Thus, the Th2-associated isotype IgG1 can play a role in protection against Th1-associated organisms such as S. Typhimurium. Therefore, individual IgG subclasses to a single Ag can provide different levels of protection and the IgG isotype induced may need to be a consideration when designing vaccines and immunization strategies.

Arcuri M, Di Benedetto R, Cunningham AF, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Micoli F. 2017. The influence of conjugation variables on the design and immunogenicity of a glycoconjugate vaccine against Salmonella Typhi. PLoS One, 12 (12), pp. e0189100. | Show Abstract | Read more

In recent years there have been major efforts to develop glycoconjugate vaccines based on the Vi polysaccharide that will protect against Salmonella enterica Typhi infections, particularly typhoid fever, which remains a major public health concern in low-income countries. The design of glycoconjugate vaccines influences the immune responses they elicit. Here we systematically test the response in mice to Vi glycoconjugates that differ in Vi chain length (full-length and fragmented), carrier protein, conjugation chemistry, saccharide to protein ratio and size. We show that the length of Vi chains, but not the ultimate size of the conjugate, has an impact on the anti-Vi IgG immune response induced. Full-length Vi conjugates, independent of the carrier protein, induce peak IgG responses rapidly after just one immunization, and secondary immunization does not enhance the magnitude of these responses. Fragmented Vi linked to CRM197 and diphtheria toxoid, but not to tetanus toxoid, gives lower anti-Vi antibody responses after the first immunization than full-length Vi conjugates, but antibody titres are similar to those induced by full-length Vi conjugates following a second dose. The chemistry to conjugate Vi to the carrier protein, the linker used, and the saccharide to protein ratio do not significantly alter the response. We conclude that Vi length and carrier protein are the variables that influence the anti-Vi IgG response to immunization the most, while other parameters are of lesser importance.

Ondari EM, Heath JN, Klemm EJ, Langridge G, Barquist L, Goulding DA, Clare S, Dougan G, Kingsley RA, MacLennan CA. 2017. Role of sapA and yfgA in Susceptibility to Antibody-Mediated Complement-Dependent Killing and Virulence of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium. Infect Immun, 85 (9), pp. e00419-17-e00419-17. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ST313 pathovar of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium contributes to a high burden of invasive disease among African infants and HIV-infected adults. It is characterized by genome degradation (loss of coding capacity) and has increased resistance to antibody-dependent complement-mediated killing compared with enterocolitis-causing strains of S Typhimurium. Vaccination is an attractive disease-prevention strategy, and leading candidates focus on the induction of bactericidal antibodies. Antibody-resistant strains arising through further gene deletion could compromise such a strategy. Exposing a saturating transposon insertion mutant library of S Typhimurium to immune serum identified a repertoire of S Typhimurium genes that, when interrupted, result in increased resistance to serum killing. These genes included several involved in bacterial envelope biogenesis, protein translocation, and metabolism. We generated defined mutant derivatives using S Typhimurium SL1344 as the host. Based on their initial levels of enhanced resistance to killing, yfgA and sapA mutants were selected for further characterization. The S Typhimurium yfgA mutant lost the characteristic Salmonella rod-shaped appearance, exhibited increased sensitivity to osmotic and detergent stress, lacked very long lipopolysaccharide, was unable to invade enterocytes, and demonstrated decreased ability to infect mice. In contrast, the S Typhimurium sapA mutants had similar sensitivity to osmotic and detergent stress and lipopolysaccharide profile and an increased ability to infect enterocytes compared with the wild type, but it had no increased ability to cause in vivo infection. These findings indicate that increased resistance to antibody-dependent complement-mediated killing secondary to genetic deletion is not necessarily accompanied by increased virulence and suggest the presence of different mechanisms of antibody resistance.

Mandala WL, Gondwe EN, MacLennan JM, Molyneux ME, MacLennan CA. 2017. Age- and sex-related changes in hematological parameters in healthy Malawians. J Blood Med, 8 pp. 123-130. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIM: The aim of the study was to determine how values for white blood cell (WBC) counts, hemoglobin (Hb), hematocrit (Hct), mean corpuscular volume (mcv), and platelet counts vary with age and sex in healthy Malawians. METHODS: We recruited 660 (316 male and 344 female) participants in 12 different age groups. An ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid-anticoagulated blood sample collected from each participant was analyzed using a hematological analyzer. RESULTS: WBC counts decreased with age with the lowest counts observed in the 20 to <60 years old group. Median WBC counts for 20 to <60 year old females (5.9×109/L) were significantly higher than those for men (4.7×109/L; p=0.015) of the same age. Hb and Hct increased between 5 and 10 years in males and 10 and 15 years in females to adult levels. Males aged 5 to <10 years had significantly higher Hb (13.05 g/dL) and Hct (42.50%) compared to females of the same age (10.40 g/dL and 32.55%, respectively; p<0.0001 for both parameters). Platelet counts in males, which were highest between 3 and 5 years (376×109/L), decreased to lowest counts among 5 to <10 year olds (238×109/L), while in females these decreased from 402×109/L in 6 to <10 years olds to 226×109/L in 10 to <15 year olds. mcv median values were high in neonates reaching a nadir at 13-18 months and then increased throughout life. Females aged 0 to <6 months had significantly higher mcv values (81.85 fL) than males of the same age (69.3 fL; p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: This study provides hematological values according to age and sex that are suitable for reference use in studies among Malawian subjects.

Marini A, Rossi O, Aruta MG, Micoli F, Rondini S, Guadagnuolo S, Delany I, Henderson IR, Cunningham AF, Saul A et al. 2017. Contribution of factor H-Binding protein sequence to the cross-reactivity of meningococcal native outer membrane vesicle vaccines with over-expressed fHbp variant group 1. PLoS One, 12 (7), pp. e0181508. | Show Abstract | Read more

Factor H-binding protein (fHbp) is an important meningococcal vaccine antigen. Native outer membrane vesicles with over-expressed fHbp (NOMV OE fHbp) have been shown to induce antibodies with broader functional activity than recombinant fHbp (rfHbp). Improved understanding of this broad coverage would facilitate rational vaccine design. We performed a pair-wise analysis of 48 surface-exposed amino acids involved in interacting with factor H, among 383 fHbp variant group 1 sequences. We generated isogenic NOMV-producing meningococcal strains from an African serogroup W isolate, each over-expressing one of four fHbp variant group 1 sequences (ID 1, 5, 9, or 74), including those most common among invasive African meningococcal isolates. Mice were immunised with each NOMV, and sera tested for IgG levels against each of the rfHbp ID and for ability to kill a panel of heterologous meningococcal isolates. At the fH-binding site, ID pairs differed by a maximum of 13 (27%) amino acids. ID 9 shared an amino acid sequence common to 83 ID types. The selected ID types differed by up to 6 amino acids, in the fH-binding site. All NOMV and rfHbp induced high IgG levels against each rfHbp. Serum killing from mice immunised with rfHbp was generally less efficient and more restricted compared to NOMV, which induced antibodies that killed most meningococci tested, with decreased stringency for ID type differences. Breadth of killing was mostly due to anti-fHbp antibodies, with some restriction according to ID type sequence differences. Nevertheless, under our experimental conditions, no relationship between antibody cross-reactivity and variation fH-binding site sequence was identified. NOMV over-expressing different fHbp IDs belonging to variant group 1 induce antibodies with fine specificities against fHbp, and ability to kill broadly meningococci expressing heterologous fHbp IDs. The work reinforces that meningococcal NOMV with OE fHbp is a promising vaccine strategy, and provides a basis for rational selection of antigen sequence types for over-expression on NOMV.

Mandala WL, Gondwe EN, Molyneux ME, MacLennan JM, MacLennan CA. 2017. Leukocyte counts and lymphocyte subsets in relation to pregnancy and HIV infection in Malawian women. Am J Reprod Immunol, 78 (3), pp. e12678-e12678. | Show Abstract | Read more

PROBLEM: We investigated leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets in HIV-infected or HIV-uninfected, pregnant or non-pregnant Malawian women to explore whether HIV infection and pregnancy may act synergistically to impair cellular immunity. METHOD OF STUDY: We recruited 54 pregnant and 48 non-pregnant HIV-uninfected women and 24 pregnant and 20 non-pregnant HIV-infected Malawian women. We compared peripheral blood leukocyte and lymphocyte subsets between women in the four groups. RESULTS: Parturient HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women had more neutrophils (each P<.0001), but fewer lymphocytes (P<.0001; P=.0014) than non-pregnant women. Both groups had fewer total T cells (P<.0001; P=.002) and CD8+ T cells (P<.0001; P=.014) than non-pregnant women. HIV-uninfected parturient women had fewer CD4+ and γδ T cells, B and NK cells (each P<.0001) than non-pregnant women. Lymphocyte subset percentages were not affected by pregnancy. CONCLUSION: Malawian women at parturition have an increased total white cell count due to neutrophilia and an HIV-unrelated pan-lymphopenia.

Wells TJ, Davison J, Sheehan E, Kanagasundaram S, Spickett G, MacLennan CA, Stockley RA, Cunningham AF, Henderson IR, De Soyza A. 2017. The Use of Plasmapheresis in Patients with Bronchiectasis with Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection and Inhibitory Antibodies. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 195 (7), pp. 955-958. | Read more

Mandala WL, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Drayson MT, Molyneux ME, MacLennan CA. 2017. Cytokine Profiles in Malawian Children Presenting with Uncomplicated Malaria, Severe Malarial Anemia, and Cerebral Malaria. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 24 (4), pp. e00533-16-e00533-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

Proinflammatory cytokines are involved in clearance of Plasmodium falciparum, and very high levels of these cytokines have been implicated in the pathogenesis of severe malaria. In order to determine how cytokines vary with disease severity and syndrome, we enrolled Malawian children presenting with cerebral malaria (CM), severe malarial anemia (SMA), and uncomplicated malaria (UCM) and healthy controls. We analyzed serum cytokine concentrations in acute infection and in convalescence. With the exception of interleukin 5 (IL-5), cytokine concentrations were highest in acute CM, followed by SMA, and were only mildly elevated in UCM. Cytokine concentrations had fallen to control levels when remeasured at 1 month of convalescence in all three clinical malaria groups. Ratios of IL-10 to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and of IL-10 to IL-6 followed a similar pattern. Children presenting with acute CM had significantly higher concentrations of TNF-α (P < 0.001), interferon gamma (IFN-γ) (P = 0.0019), IL-2 (P = 0.0004), IL-6 (P < 0.001), IL-8 (P < 0.001), and IL-10 (P < 0.001) in sera than healthy controls. Patients with acute CM had significantly higher concentrations of IL-6 (P < 0.001) and IL-10 (P = 0.0003) than those presenting with acute SMA. Our findings are consistent with the concept that high levels of proinflammatory cytokines, despite high levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, could contribute to the pathogenesis of CM.

Fiorino F, Rondini S, Micoli F, Lanzilao L, Alfini R, Mancini F, MacLennan CA, Medaglini D. 2017. Immunogenicity of a Bivalent Adjuvanted Glycoconjugate Vaccine against Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis. Front Immunol, 8 (FEB), pp. 168. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis are the predominant causes of invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease. Considering the co-endemicity of S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis, a bivalent vaccine formulation against both pathogens is necessary for protection against iNTS disease, thus investigation of glycoconjugate combination is required. In the present work, we investigated the immune responses induced by S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis monovalent and bivalent glycoconjugate vaccines adjuvanted with aluminum hydroxide (alum) only or in combination with cytosine-phosphorothioate-guanine oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG). Humoral and cellular, systemic and local, immune responses were characterized in two different mouse strains. All conjugate vaccines elicited high levels of serum IgG against the respective O-antigens (OAg) with bactericidal activity. The bivalent conjugate vaccine induced systemic production of antibodies against both S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis OAg. The presence of alum or alum + CpG adjuvants in vaccine formulations significantly increased the serum antigen-specific antibody production. The alum + CpG bivalent vaccine formulation triggered the highest systemic anti-OAg antibodies and also a significant increase of anti-OAg IgG in intestinal washes and fecal samples, with a positive correlation with serum levels. These data demonstrate the ability of monovalent and bivalent conjugate vaccines against S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis to induce systemic and local immune responses in different mouse strains, and highlight the suitability of a bivalent glycoconjugate formulation, especially when adjuvanted with alum + CpG, as a promising candidate vaccine against iNTS disease.

Gilchrist JJ, MacLennan CA. 2017. The immunology of infection Medicine, 45 (10), pp. 587-596. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd The human immune system is composed of a collection of specialized cells and secreted proteins that allows the identification and removal of an invading pathogen, and in doing so limits host injury or death. This system is composed of innate and adaptive branches. It is important to recognize that although the innate and adaptive branches of the immune system differ fundamentally in their mechanisms of pathogen recognition, neither branch functions in isolation. In this article, we address how the innate and adaptive immune systems sense the presence of a pathogen, how the immune system then coordinates anti-pathogen effector functions to remove the pathogen, and finally how immunological memory functions to better protect its host against subsequent exposure to the same pathogen.

Uche IV, MacLennan CA, Saul A. 2017. A Systematic Review of the Incidence, Risk Factors and Case Fatality Rates of Invasive Nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) Disease in Africa (1966 to 2014). PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (1), pp. e0005118. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study systematically reviews the literature on the occurrence, incidence and case fatality rate (CFR) of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease in Africa from 1966 to 2014. Data on the burden of iNTS disease in Africa are sparse and generally have not been aggregated, making it difficult to describe the epidemiology that is needed to inform the development and implementation of effective prevention and control policies. This study involved a comprehensive search of PubMed and Embase databases. It documents the geographical spread of iNTS disease over time in Africa, and describes its reported incidence, risk factors and CFR. We found that Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) have been reported as a cause of bacteraemia in 33 out of 54 African countries, spanning the five geographical regions of Africa, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa since 1966. Our review indicates that NTS have been responsible for up to 39% of community acquired blood stream infections in sub-Saharan Africa with an average CFR of 19%. Salmonella Typhimurium and Enteritidis are the major serovars implicated and together have been responsible for 91%% of the cases of iNTS disease, (where serotype was determined), reported in Africa. The study confirms that iNTS disease is more prevalent amongst Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected individuals, infants, and young children with malaria, anaemia and malnutrition. In conclusion, iNTS disease is a substantial cause of community-acquired bacteraemia in Africa. Given the high morbidity and mortality of iNTS disease in Africa, it is important to develop effective prevention and control strategies including vaccination.

De Benedetto G, Alfini R, Cescutti P, Caboni M, Lanzilao L, Necchi F, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Rondini S, Micoli F. 2017. Characterization of O-antigen delivered by Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) vaccine candidates against nontyphoidal Salmonella. Vaccine, 35 (3), pp. 419-426. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease (iNTS) is a leading cause of death and morbidity in Africa. The most common pathogens are Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis. The O-antigen portion of their lipopolysaccharide is a target of protective immunity and vaccines targeting O-antigen are currently in development. Here we investigate the use of Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) as delivery system for S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis O-antigen. Gram-negative bacteria naturally shed outer membrane in a blebbing process. By deletion of the tolR gene, the level of shedding was greatly enhanced. Further genetic modifications were introduced into the GMMA-producing strains in order to reduce reactogenicity, by detoxifying the lipid A moiety of lipopolysaccharide. We found that genetic mutations can impact on expression of O-antigen chains. All S. Enteritidis GMMA characterized had an O-antigen to protein w/w ratio higher than 0.6, while the ratio was 0.7 for S. Typhimurium ΔtolR GMMA, but decreased to less than 0.1 when further mutations for lipid A detoxification were introduced. Changes were also observed in O-antigen chain length and level and/or position of O-acetylation. When tested in mice, the GMMA induced high levels of anti-O-antigen-specific IgG functional antibodies, despite variation in density and O-antigen structural modifications. In conclusion, simplicity of manufacturing process and low costs of production, coupled with encouraging immunogenicity data, make GMMA an attractive strategy to further investigate for the development of a vaccine against iNTS.

MacLennan CA, Richter A, Hodson J, Faustini S, Birtwistle J, Whitelegg A, Chigiga J, Singo M, Walker-Haywood J, Mulugeta B et al. 2016. Immunization of HIV-Infected Adults in the UK With Haemophilus influenzae b/Meningococcal C Glycoconjugate and Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccines JAIDS-JOURNAL OF ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROMES, 73 (3), pp. 287-293.

MacLennan CA, Richter A, Hodson J, Faustini S, Birtwistle J, Whitelegg A, Chigiga J, Singo M, Walker-Haywood J, Mulugeta B et al. 2016. Brief Report: Immunization of HIV-Infected Adults in the UK With Haemophilus influenzae b/Meningococcal C Glycoconjugate and Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccines. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 73 (3), pp. 287-293. | Show Abstract | Read more

U.K. guidelines for vaccinating HIV-infected adults against bacteria are based on limited data. We compared antibody responses between 211 HIV-infected and 73 HIV-uninfected adults vaccinated with pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) and Haemophilus influenzae b/meningococcal C polysaccharide-tetanus toxoid glycoconjugate vaccine (Hib/MenC-TT). IgG responses to Hib/MenC-TT were not significantly different. PPV induced median IgGs >1.3 μg/mL for 10/12 serotypes among HIV-uninfected participants and 5/12 in HIV-infected participants. HIV-uninfected adults had higher post-vaccination IgGs than HIV-infected adults for 4/12 serotypes (P < 0.001). Responses did not associate with CD4 count or viral suppression. In a U.K. HIV-infected population, Hib/MenC-TT induced similar responses to HIV-uninfected adults, whereas PPV induced poor responses.

Wong VK, Baker S, Connor TR, Pickard D, Page AJ, Dave J, Murphy N, Holliman R, Sefton A, Millar M et al. 2016. An extended genotyping framework for Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the cause of human typhoid. Nat Commun, 7 pp. 12827. | Show Abstract | Read more

The population of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), the causative agent of typhoid fever, exhibits limited DNA sequence variation, which complicates efforts to rationally discriminate individual isolates. Here we utilize data from whole-genome sequences (WGS) of nearly 2,000 isolates sourced from over 60 countries to generate a robust genotyping scheme that is phylogenetically informative and compatible with a range of assays. These data show that, with the exception of the rapidly disseminating H58 subclade (now designated genotype 4.3.1), the global S. Typhi population is highly structured and includes dozens of subclades that display geographical restriction. The genotyping approach presented here can be used to interrogate local S. Typhi populations and help identify recent introductions of S. Typhi into new or previously endemic locations, providing information on their likely geographical source. This approach can be used to classify clinical isolates and provides a universal framework for further experimental investigations.

Feasey NA, Hadfield J, Keddy KH, Dallman TJ, Jacobs J, Deng X, Wigley P, Barquist L, Langridge GC, Feltwell T et al. 2016. Distinct Salmonella Enteritidis lineages associated with enterocolitis in high-income settings and invasive disease in low-income settings. Nat Genet, 48 (10), pp. 1211-1217. | Show Abstract | Read more

An epidemiological paradox surrounds Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis. In high-income settings, it has been responsible for an epidemic of poultry-associated, self-limiting enterocolitis, whereas in sub-Saharan Africa it is a major cause of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease, associated with high case fatality. By whole-genome sequence analysis of 675 isolates of S. Enteritidis from 45 countries, we show the existence of a global epidemic clade and two new clades of S. Enteritidis that are geographically restricted to distinct regions of Africa. The African isolates display genomic degradation, a novel prophage repertoire, and an expanded multidrug resistance plasmid. S. Enteritidis is a further example of a Salmonella serotype that displays niche plasticity, with distinct clades that enable it to become a prominent cause of gastroenteritis in association with the industrial production of eggs and of multidrug-resistant, bloodstream-invasive infection in Africa.

International Typhoid Consortium, Wong VK, Holt KE, Okoro C, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Marks F, Page AJ, Olanipekun G, Munir H et al. 2016. Molecular Surveillance Identifies Multiple Transmissions of Typhoid in West Africa. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (9), pp. e0004781. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of typhoid in sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries has been difficult to estimate, in part, due to suboptimal laboratory diagnostics. However, surveillance blood cultures at two sites in Nigeria have identified typhoid associated with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) as an important cause of bacteremia in children. METHODS: A total of 128 S. Typhi isolates from these studies in Nigeria were whole-genome sequenced, and the resulting data was used to place these Nigerian isolates into a worldwide context based on their phylogeny and carriage of molecular determinants of antibiotic resistance. RESULTS: Several distinct S. Typhi genotypes were identified in Nigeria that were related to other clusters of S. Typhi isolates from north, west and central regions of Africa. The rapidly expanding S. Typhi clade 4.3.1 (H58) previously associated with multiple antimicrobial resistances in Asia and in east, central and southern Africa, was not detected in this study. However, antimicrobial resistance was common amongst the Nigerian isolates and was associated with several plasmids, including the IncHI1 plasmid commonly associated with S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that typhoid in Nigeria was established through multiple independent introductions into the country, with evidence of regional spread. MDR typhoid appears to be evolving independently of the haplotype H58 found in other typhoid endemic countries. This study highlights an urgent need for routine surveillance to monitor the epidemiology of typhoid and evolution of antimicrobial resistance within the bacterial population as a means to facilitate public health interventions to reduce the substantial morbidity and mortality of typhoid.

Gilchrist JJ, Heath JN, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Naranbhai V, Mandala W, MacLennan JM, Molyneux EM, Graham SM, Drayson MT et al. 2016. Cytokine Profiles during Invasive Nontyphoidal Salmonella Disease Predict Outcome in African Children. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (7), pp. 601-609. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonella is a leading cause of sepsis in African children. Cytokine responses are central to the pathophysiology of sepsis and predict sepsis outcome in other settings. In this study, we investigated cytokine responses to invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease in Malawian children. We determined serum concentrations of 48 cytokines with multiplexed immunoassays in Malawian children during acute iNTS disease (n = 111) and in convalescence (n = 77). Principal component analysis and logistic regression were used to identify cytokine signatures of acute iNTS disease. We further investigated whether these responses are altered by HIV coinfection or severe malnutrition and whether cytokine responses predict inpatient mortality. Cytokine changes in acute iNTS disease were associated with two distinct cytokine signatures. The first is characterized by increased concentrations of mediators known to be associated with macrophage function, and the second is characterized by raised pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines typical of responses reported in sepsis secondary to diverse pathogens. These cytokine responses were largely unaltered by either severe malnutrition or HIV coinfection. Children with fatal disease had a distinctive cytokine profile, characterized by raised mediators known to be associated with neutrophil function. In conclusion, cytokine responses to acute iNTS infection in Malawian children are reflective of both the cytokine storm typical of sepsis secondary to diverse pathogens and the intramacrophage replicative niche of NTS. The cytokine profile predictive of fatal disease supports a key role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of NTS sepsis.

Tennant SM, MacLennan CA, Simon R, Martin LB, Khan MI. 2016. Nontyphoidal salmonella disease: Current status of vaccine research and development. Vaccine, 34 (26), pp. 2907-2910. | Show Abstract | Read more

Among more than 2500 nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica (NTS) serovars, S. enterica serovar Typhimurium and S. enterica serovar Enteritidis account for approximately fifty percent of all human isolates of NTS reported globally. The global incidence of NTS gastroenteritis in 2010 was estimated to be 93 million cases, approximately 80 million of which were contracted via food-borne transmission. It is estimated that 155,000 deaths resulted from NTS in 2010. NTS also causes severe, extra-intestinal, invasive bacteremia, referred to as invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease. iNTS disease usually presents as a febrile illness, frequently without gastrointestinal symptoms, in both adults and children. Symptoms of iNTS are similar to malaria, often including fever (>90%) and splenomegaly (>40%). The underlying reasons for the high rates of iNTS disease in Africa are still being elucidated. Evidence from animal and human studies supports the feasibility of developing a safe and effective vaccine against iNTS. Both antibodies and complement can kill Salmonella species in vitro. Proof-of-principle studies in animal models have demonstrated efficacy for live attenuated and subunit vaccines that target the O-antigens, flagellin proteins, and other outer membrane proteins of serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis. More recently, a novel delivery strategy for NTS vaccines has been developed: the Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) technology which presents surface polysaccharides and outer membrane proteins in their native conformation. GMMA technology is self-adjuvanting, as it delivers multiple pathogen-associated molecular pattern molecules. GMMA may be particularly relevant for low- and middle-income countries as it has the potential for high immunologic potency at a low cost and involves a relatively simple production process without the need for complex conjugation. Several vaccines for the predominant NTS serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis, are currently under development.

Mandala WL, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Drayson MT, Molyneux ME, MacLennan CA. 2016. Monocyte activation and cytokine production in Malawian children presenting with P. falciparum malaria. Parasite Immunol, 38 (5), pp. 317-325. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria in malaria-naïve adults is associated with an inflammatory response characterized by expression of specific activation markers on innate immune cells. Here, we investigate activation and adhesion marker expression, and cytokine production in monocytes from children presenting with cerebral malaria (CM, n = 36), severe malarial anaemia (SMA, n = 42) or uncomplicated malaria (UM, n = 66), and healthy aparasitemic children (n = 52) in Blantyre, Malawi. In all malaria groups, but particularly in the two severe malaria groups, monocyte expression of CD11b, CD11c, CD18, HLA-DR and CD86, and percentages of TNF-α- and IL-6-producing monocytes were lower than in healthy controls, while expression of CD11a, TLR2 and TLR4 was lower in children with severe malaria compared with controls. These levels mostly normalized during convalescence, but percentages of cytokine-producing monocytes remained suppressed in children with SMA. In all malaria groups, especially the SMA group, a greater proportion of monocytes were loaded with haemozoin than among controls. In a P. falciparum hyperendemic area, monocytes in children with acute symptomatic malaria have reduced expression of adhesion molecules and activation markers and reduced inflammatory cytokine production. This immune suppression could be due to accumulation of haemozoin and/or previous exposure to P. falciparum.

Martin LB, Simon R, MacLennan CA, Tennant SM, Sahastrabuddhe S, Khan MI. 2016. Status of paratyphoid fever vaccine research and development. Vaccine, 34 (26), pp. 2900-2902. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovars Typhi and Paratyphi (S. Paratyphi) A and B cause enteric fever in humans. Of the paratyphoid group, S. Paratyphi A is the most common serovar. In 2000, there were an estimated 5.4 million cases of S. Paratyphi A worldwide. More recently paratyphoid fever has accounted for an increasing fraction of all cases of enteric fever. Although vaccines for typhoid fever have been developed and in use for decades, vaccines for paratyphoid fever have not yet been licensed. Several S. Paratyphi A vaccines, however, are in development and based on either whole cell live-attenuated strains or repeating units of the lipopolysaccharide O-antigen (O:2) conjugated to different protein carriers. An O-specific polysaccharide (O:2) of S. Paratyphi A conjugated to tetanus toxoid (O:2-TT), for example, has been determined to be safe and immunogenic after one dose in Phase I and Phase II trials. Two other conjugated vaccine candidates linked to diphtheria toxin and a live-attenuated oral vaccine candidate are currently in preclinical development. As promising vaccine candidates are advanced along the development pipeline, an adequate supply of vaccines will need to be ensured to meet growing demand, particularly in the most affected countries.

Goh YS, Necchi F, O'Shaughnessy CM, Micoli F, Gavini M, Young SP, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Mandala WL, Gordon MA et al. 2016. Bactericidal Immunity to Salmonella in Africans and Mechanisms Causing Its Failure in HIV Infection. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (4), pp. e0004604. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella are a leading cause of death among HIV-infected Africans. Antibody-induced complement-mediated killing protects healthy Africans against Salmonella, but increased levels of anti-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antibodies in some HIV-infected African adults block this killing. The objective was to understand how these high levels of anti-LPS antibodies interfere with the killing of Salmonella. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Sera and affinity-purified antibodies from African HIV-infected adults that failed to kill invasive S. Typhimurium D23580 were compared to sera from HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected subjects with bactericidal activity. The failure of sera from certain HIV-infected subjects to kill Salmonella was found to be due to an inherent inhibitory effect of anti-LPS antibodies. This inhibition was concentration-dependent and strongly associated with IgA and IgG2 anti-LPS antibodies (p<0.0001 for both). IgG anti-LPS antibodies, from sera of HIV-infected individuals that inhibit killing at high concentration, induced killing when diluted. Conversely, IgG, from sera of HIV-uninfected adults that induce killing, inhibited killing when concentrated. IgM anti-LPS antibodies from all subjects also induced Salmonella killing. Finally, the inhibitory effect of high concentrations of anti-LPS antibodies is seen with IgM as well as IgG and IgA. No correlation was found between affinity or avidity, or complement deposition or consumption, and inhibition of killing. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: IgG and IgM classes of anti-S. Typhimurium LPS antibodies from HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected individuals are bactericidal, while at very high concentrations, anti-LPS antibodies of all classes inhibit in vitro killing of Salmonella. This could be due to a variety of mechanisms relating to the poor ability of IgA and IgG2 to activate complement, and deposition of complement at sites where it cannot insert in the bacterial membrane. Vaccine trials are required to understand the significance of lack of in vitro killing by anti-LPS antibodies from a minority of HIV-infected individuals with impaired immune homeostasis.

Park SE, Pak GD, Aaby P, Adu-Sarkodie Y, Ali M, Aseffa A, Biggs HM, Bjerregaard-Andersen M, Breiman RF, Crump JA et al. 2016. The Relationship Between Invasive Nontyphoidal Salmonella Disease, Other Bacterial Bloodstream Infections, and Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. Clin Infect Dis, 62 Suppl 1 (suppl 1), pp. S23-S31. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Country-specific studies in Africa have indicated that Plasmodium falciparum is associated with invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease. We conducted a multicenter study in 13 sites in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Tanzania to investigate the relationship between the occurrence of iNTS disease, other systemic bacterial infections, and malaria. METHODS: Febrile patients received a blood culture and a malaria test. Isolated bacteria underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing, and the association between iNTS disease and malaria was assessed. RESULTS: A positive correlation between frequency proportions of malaria and iNTS was observed (P = .01; r = 0.70). Areas with higher burden of malaria exhibited higher odds of iNTS disease compared to other bacterial infections (odds ratio [OR], 4.89; 95% CI, 1.61-14.90; P = .005) than areas with lower malaria burden. Malaria parasite positivity was associated with iNTS disease (OR, 2.44; P = .031) and gram-positive bacteremias, particularly Staphylococcus aureus, exhibited a high proportion of coinfection with Plasmodium malaria. Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis were the predominant NTS serovars (53/73; 73%). Both moderate (OR, 6.05; P = .0001) and severe (OR, 14.62; P < .0001) anemia were associated with iNTS disease. CONCLUSIONS: A positive correlation between iNTS disease and malaria endemicity, and the association between Plasmodium parasite positivity and iNTS disease across sub-Saharan Africa, indicates the necessity to consider iNTS as a major cause of febrile illness in malaria-holoendemic areas. Prevention of iNTS disease through iNTS vaccines for areas of high malaria endemicity, targeting high-risk groups for Plasmodium parasitic infection, should be considered.

Klemm EJ, Gkrania-Klotsas E, Hadfield J, Forbester JL, Harris SR, Hale C, Heath JN, Wileman T, Clare S, Kane L et al. 2016. Emergence of host-adapted Salmonella Enteritidis through rapid evolution in an immunocompromised host. Nat Microbiol, 1 (3), pp. 15023-15023. | Show Abstract | Read more

Host adaptation is a key factor contributing to the emergence of new bacterial, viral and parasitic pathogens. Many pathogens are considered promiscuous because they cause disease across a range of host species, while others are host-adapted, infecting particular hosts1. Host adaptation can potentially progress to host restriction where the pathogen is strictly limited to a single host species and is frequently associated with more severe symptoms. Host-adapted and host-restricted bacterial clades evolve from within a broader host-promiscuous species and sometimes target different niches within their specialist hosts, such as adapting from a mucosal to a systemic lifestyle. Genome degradation, marked by gene inactivation and deletion, is a key feature of host adaptation, although the triggers initiating genome degradation are not well understood. Here, we show that a chronic systemic non-typhoidal Salmonella infection in an immunocompromised human patient resulted in genome degradation targeting genes that are expendable for a systemic lifestyle. We present a genome-based investigation of a recurrent blood-borne Salmonella enterica serotype Enteritidis (S. Enteritidis) infection covering 15 years in an interleukin (IL)-12 β-1 receptor-deficient individual that developed into an asymptomatic chronic infection. The infecting S. Enteritidis harbored a mutation in the mismatch repair gene mutS that accelerated the genomic mutation rate. Phylogenetic analysis and phenotyping of multiple patient isolates provides evidence for a remarkable level of within-host evolution that parallels genome changes present in successful host-restricted bacterial pathogens but never before observed on this timescale. Our analysis identifies common pathways of host adaptation and demonstrates the role that immunocompromised individuals can play in this process.

Rossi O, Caboni M, Negrea A, Necchi F, Alfini R, Micoli F, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Rondini S, Gerke C. 2016. Toll-Like Receptor Activation by Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens from Lipid A Mutants of Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (4), pp. 304-314. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease is a neglected disease with high mortality in children and HIV-positive individuals in sub-Saharan Africa, caused primarily by Africa-specific strains of Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis. A vaccine using GMMA (generalized modules for membrane antigens) fromS.Typhimurium andS.Enteritidis containing lipid A modifications to reduce potential in vivo reactogenicity is under development. GMMA with penta-acylated lipid A showed the greatest reduction in the level of cytokine release from human peripheral blood monocytes from that for GMMA with wild-type lipid A. Deletion of the lipid A modification genes msbB and pagP was required to achieve pure penta-acylation. Interestingly, ΔmsbBΔ pagP GMMA from S. Enteritidis had a slightly higher stimulatory potential than those from S. Typhimurium, a finding consistent with the higher lipopolysaccharide (LPS) content and Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) stimulatory potential of the former. Also, TLR5 ligand flagellin was found in Salmonella GMMA. No relevant contribution to the stimulatory potential of GMMA was detected even when the flagellin protein FliC from S. Typhimurium was added at a concentration as high as 10% of total protein, suggesting that flagellin impurities are not a major factor for GMMA-mediated immune stimulation. Overall, the stimulatory potential of S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis ΔmsbB ΔpagP GMMA was close to that of Shigella sonnei GMMA, which are currently in phase I clinical trials.

Hart PJ, O'Shaughnessy CM, Siggins MK, Bobat S, Kingsley RA, Goulding DA, Crump JA, Reyburn H, Micoli F, Dougan G et al. 2016. Differential Killing of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi by Antibodies Targeting Vi and Lipopolysaccharide O:9 Antigen. PLoS One, 11 (1), pp. e0145945. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi expresses a capsule of Vi polysaccharide, while most Salmonella serovars, including S. Enteritidis and S. Typhimurium, do not. Both S. Typhi and S. Enteritidis express the lipopolysaccharide O:9 antigen, yet there is little evidence of cross-protection from anti-O:9 antibodies. Vaccines based on Vi polysaccharide have efficacy against typhoid fever, indicating that antibodies against Vi confer protection. Here we investigate the role of Vi capsule and antibodies against Vi and O:9 in antibody-dependent complement- and phagocyte-mediated killing of Salmonella. Using isogenic Vi-expressing and non-Vi-expressing derivatives of S. Typhi and S. Typhimurium, we show that S. Typhi is inherently more sensitive to serum and blood than S. Typhimurium. Vi expression confers increased resistance to both complement- and phagocyte-mediated modalities of antibody-dependent killing in human blood. The Vi capsule is associated with reduced C3 and C5b-9 deposition, and decreased overall antibody binding to S. Typhi. However, purified human anti-Vi antibodies in the presence of complement are able to kill Vi-expressing Salmonella, while killing by anti-O:9 antibodies is inversely related to Vi expression. Human serum depleted of antibodies to antigens other than Vi retains the ability to kill Vi-expressing bacteria. Our findings support a protective role for Vi capsule in preventing complement and phagocyte killing of Salmonella that can be overcome by specific anti-Vi antibodies, but only to a limited extent by anti-O:9 antibodies.

Stefanetti G, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Micoli F. 2015. Click Chemistry Applied to the Synthesis of Salmonella Typhimurium O-Antigen Glycoconjugate Vaccine on Solid Phase with Sugar Recycling. Bioconjug Chem, 26 (12), pp. 2507-2513. | Show Abstract | Read more

A solid-phase conjugation method was developed and applied to the synthesis of an O-antigen based glycoconjugate vaccine against Salmonella Typhimurium, with CRM197 as the carrier protein. Copper-free click chemistry was used as the conjugation chemistry, after derivatizing the sugar and the protein components with alkyne and azido linkers, respectively. This chemistry has the advantage of not deactivating functional groups during the conjugation step, thereby allowing the recycling of unreacted components. The activated carrier protein was adsorbed to an anion exchange matrix and quantitatively conjugated to the O-antigen. The resulting conjugate was eluted from the resin free of unconjugated sugar which was previously removed by simple washing steps. Unreacted O-antigen was recycled by addition to a new batch of resin-CRM197 resulting in further quantitative protein conjugation. This process has advantages in relation to reduction of costs for production of conjugate vaccines, allowing unreacted sugar recovery and simplifying the purification of the glycoconjugate.

Mandala WL, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Gilchrist JJ, Graham SM, Pensulo P, Mwimaniwa G, Banda M, Taylor TE, Molyneux EE et al. 2015. Lymphocyte Perturbations in Malawian Children with Severe and Uncomplicated Malaria. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 23 (2), pp. 95-103. | Show Abstract | Read more

Lymphocytes are implicated in immunity and pathogenesis of severe malaria. Since lymphocyte subsets vary with age, assessment of their contribution to different etiologies can be difficult. We immunophenotyped peripheral blood from Malawian children presenting with cerebral malaria, severe malarial anemia, and uncomplicated malaria (n = 113) and healthy aparasitemic children (n = 42) in Blantyre, Malawi, and investigated lymphocyte subset counts, activation, and memory status. Children with cerebral malaria were older than those with severe malarial anemia. We found panlymphopenia in children presenting with cerebral malaria (median lymphocyte count, 2,100/μl) and uncomplicated malaria (3,700/μl), which was corrected in convalescence and was absent in severe malarial anemia (5,950/μl). Median percentages of activated CD69(+) NK (73%) and γδ T (60%) cells were higher in cerebral malaria than in other malaria types. Median ratios of memory to naive CD4(+) lymphocytes were higher in cerebral malaria than in uncomplicated malaria and low in severe malarial anemia. The polarized lymphocyte subset profiles of different forms of severe malaria are independent of age. In conclusion, among Malawian children cerebral malaria is characterized by lymphocyte activation and increased memory cells, consistent with immune priming. In contrast, there are reduced memory cells and less activation in severe malaria anemia. Further studies are required to understand whether these immunological profiles indicate predisposition of some children to one or another form of severe malaria.

Stefanetti G, Hu QY, Usera A, Robinson Z, Allan M, Singh A, Imase H, Cobb J, Zhai H, Quinn D et al. 2015. Frontispiece: Sugar-Protein Connectivity Impacts on the Immunogenicity of Site-Selective Salmonella O-Antigen Glycoconjugate Vaccines. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 54 (45), pp. n/a-n/a. | Show Abstract | Read more

Glycoproteins In their Communication on page 13198 ff., Q.-Y. Hu, F. Micoli et al. present two methods for the preparation of glycoconjugate vaccines with one single sugar chain linked to one or two positions of a carrier protein.

Stefanetti G, Hu QY, Usera A, Robinson Z, Allan M, Singh A, Imase H, Cobb J, Zhai H, Quinn D et al. 2015. Sugar-Protein Connectivity Impacts on the Immunogenicity of Site-Selective Salmonella O-Antigen Glycoconjugate Vaccines Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 54 (45), pp. 13198-13203. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 2015 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made. A series of glycoconjugates with defined connectivity were synthesized to investigate the impact of coupling Salmonella typhimurium O-antigen to different amino acids of CRM 197 protein carrier. In particular, two novel methods for site-selective glycan conjugation were developed to obtain conjugates with single attachment site on the protein, based on chemical modification of a disulfide bond and pH-controlled transglutaminase-catalyzed modification of lysine, respectively. Importantly, conjugation at the C186-201 bond resulted in significantly higher anti O-antigen bactericidal antibody titers than coupling to K37/39, and in comparable titers to conjugates bearing a larger number of saccharides. This study demonstrates that the conjugation site plays a role in determining the immunogenicity in mice and one single attachment point may be sufficient to induce high levels of bactericidal antibodies.

Lanzilao L, Stefanetti G, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Micoli F, Rondini S. 2015. Strain Selection for Generation of O-Antigen-Based Glycoconjugate Vaccines against Invasive Nontyphoidal Salmonella Disease. PLoS One, 10 (10), pp. e0139847. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae, principally S. Typhimurium and S. Enteritidis, are a major cause of invasive bloodstream infections in sub-Saharan Africa with no vaccine currently available. Conjugation of lipopolysaccharide O-antigen to a carrier protein constitutes a promising vaccination strategy. Here we describe a rational process to select the most appropriate isolates of Salmonella as source of O-antigen for developing a bivalent glycoconjugate vaccine. We screened a library of 30 S. Typhimurium and 21 S. Enteritidis in order to identify the most suitable strains for large scale O-antigen production and generation of conjugate vaccines. Initial screening was based on growth characteristics, safety profile of the isolates, O-antigen production, and O-antigen characteristics in terms of molecular size, O-acetylation and glucosylation level and position, as determined by phenol sulfuric assay, NMR, HPLC-SEC and HPAEC-PAD. Three animal isolates for each serovar were identified and used to synthesize candidate glycoconjugate vaccines, using CRM197 as carrier protein. The immunogenicity of these conjugates and the functional activity of the induced antibodies was investigated by ELISA, serum bactericidal assay and flow cytometry. S. Typhimurium O-antigen showed high structural diversity, including O-acetylation of rhamnose in a Malawian invasive strain generating a specific immunodominant epitope. S. Typhimurium conjugates provoked an anti-O-antigen response primarily against the O:5 determinant. O-antigen from S. Enteritidis was structurally more homogeneous than from S. Typhimurium, and no idiosyncratic antibody responses were detected for the S. Enteritidis conjugates. Of the three initially selected isolates, two S. Typhimurium (1418 and 2189) and two S. Enteritidis (502 and 618) strains generated glycoconjugates able to induce high specific antibody levels with high breadth of serovar-specific strain coverage, and were selected for use in vaccine production. The strain selection approach described is potentially applicable to the development of glycoconjugate vaccines against other bacterial pathogens.

Nyirenda TS, Molyneux ME, Kenefeck R, Walker LSK, MacLennan CA, Heyderman RS, Mandala WL. 2015. T-Regulatory Cells and Inflammatory and Inhibitory Cytokines in Malawian Children Residing in an Area of High and an Area of Low Malaria Transmission During Acute Uncomplicated Malaria and in Convalescence. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc, 4 (3), pp. 232-241. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria still infects many Malawian children, and it is a cause of death in some of them. Regulatory T cells (Tregs) help in negating immune-related pathology, it but can also favor multiplication of malaria parasites. The question remains whether children recovering from uncomplicated malaria (UCM) have higher Tregs and interleukin (IL)-10 levels in convalescence. METHODS: We recruited children between the ages of 6 and 60 months presenting with acute UCM in Blantyre (low transmission area) and Chikwawa (high transmission area). We observed the children after 1 month and 3 months and analyzed their blood samples for parasitemia, lymphocyte subsets, and levels of the cytokines interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-10, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. Blood samples from age-matched controls were also analyzed for the same parameters. RESULTS: Compared with controls, acute UCM was associated with mild lymphopenia, splenomegaly, and high levels of IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α, and IL-10, which normalized in convalescence. In Chikwawa, Treg counts were significantly (P < .0001) higher in convalescence compared with acute disease, whereas in Blantyre, these were as low as in healthy controls both during acute disease and in convalescence. Blantyre had a higher percentage of parasiteamic children (15% versus 12%) in convalescence compared with Chikwawa, but none of these developed symptomatic malaria during the study duration. Concentrations of TGF-β were higher at time points for the study participants and in controls from Blantyre compared with those recruited in Chikwawa. CONCLUSIONS: The high transmission area was associated with high Tregs counts and IL-10 concentrations in convalescence, which could have an effect on parasite clearance. We recommend that children recovering from UCM, especially those from high transmission area, should sleep under insecticide-treated nets, be screened for parasitemia, and a provision of antimalarial prophylaxis should be considered.

Gilchrist JJ, MacLennan CA, Hill AVS. 2015. Genetic susceptibility to invasive Salmonella disease Nature Reviews Immunology, 15 (10), pp. 663-663. | Read more

Goh YS, Clare S, Micoli F, Saul A, Mastroeni P, MacLennan CA. 2015. Monoclonal Antibodies of a Diverse Isotype Induced by an O-Antigen Glycoconjugate Vaccine Mediate In Vitro and In Vivo Killing of African Invasive Nontyphoidal Salmonella. Infect Immun, 83 (9), pp. 3722-3731. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS), particularly Salmonella enterica serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis, is responsible for a major global burden of invasive disease with high associated case-fatality rates. We recently reported the development of a candidate O-antigen-CRM197 glycoconjugate vaccine against S. Typhimurium. Here, using a panel of mouse monoclonal antibodies generated by the vaccine, we examined the relative efficiency of different antibody isotypes specific for the O:4 antigen of S. Typhimurium to effect in vitro and in vivo killing of the invasive African S. Typhimurium strain D23580. All O:4-specific antibody isotypes could mediate cell-free killing and phagocytosis of S. Typhimurium by mouse blood cells. Opsonization of Salmonella with O:4-specific IgA, IgG1, IgG2a, and IgG2b, but not IgM, resulted in cell-dependent bacterial killing. At high concentrations, O:4-specific antibodies inhibited both cell-free complement-mediated and cell-dependent opsonophagocytic killing of S. Typhimurium in vitro. Using passive immunization in mice, the O:4-specific antibodies provided in vivo functional activity by decreasing the bacterial load in the blood and tissues, with IgG2a and IgG2b being the most effective isotypes. In conclusion, an O-antigen-CRM197 glycoconjugate vaccine can induce O-antigen-specific antibodies of different isotypes that exert in vitro and in vivo killing of S. Typhimurium.

Gilchrist JJ, MacLennan CA, Hill AVS. 2015. Genetic susceptibility to invasive Salmonella disease. Nat Rev Immunol, 15 (7), pp. 452-463. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive Salmonella disease, in the form of enteric fever and invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease, causes substantial morbidity and mortality in children and adults in the developing world. The study of genetic variations in humans and mice that influence susceptibility of the host to Salmonella infection provides important insights into immunity to Salmonella. In this Review, we discuss data that have helped to elucidate the host genetic determinants of human enteric fever and iNTS disease, alongside data from the mouse model of Salmonella infection. Considered together, these studies provide a detailed picture of the immunobiology of human invasive Salmonella disease.

Onsare RS, Micoli F, Lanzilao L, Alfini R, Okoro CK, Muigai AW, Revathi G, Saul A, Kariuki S, MacLennan CA, Rondini S. 2015. Relationship between antibody susceptibility and lipopolysaccharide O-antigen characteristics of invasive and gastrointestinal nontyphoidal Salmonellae isolates from Kenya. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (3), pp. e0003573. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nontyphoidal Salmonellae (NTS) cause a large burden of invasive and gastrointestinal disease among young children in sub-Saharan Africa. No vaccine is currently available. Previous reports indicate the importance of the O-antigen of Salmonella lipopolysaccharide for virulence and resistance to antibody-mediated killing. We hypothesised that isolates with more O-antigen have increased resistance to antibody-mediated killing and are more likely to be invasive than gastrointestinal. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We studied 192 NTS isolates (114 Typhimurium, 78 Enteritidis) from blood and stools, mostly from paediatric admissions in Kenya 2000-2011. Isolates were tested for susceptibility to antibody-mediated killing, using whole adult serum. O-antigen structural characteristics, including O-acetylation and glucosylation, were investigated. Overall, isolates were susceptible to antibody-mediated killing, but S. Enteritidis were less susceptible and expressed more O-antigen than Typhimurium (p<0.0001 for both comparisons). For S. Typhimurium, but not Enteritidis, O-antigen expression correlated with reduced sensitivity to killing (r = 0.29, 95% CI = 0.10-0.45, p = 0.002). Both serovars expressed O-antigen populations ranging 21-33 kDa average molecular weight. O-antigen from most Typhimurium were O-acetylated on rhamnose and abequose residues, while Enteritidis O-antigen had low or no O-acetylation. Both Typhimurium and Enteritidis O-antigen were approximately 20%-50% glucosylated. Amount of S. Typhimurium O-antigen and O-antigen glucosylation level were inversely related. There was no clear association between clinical presentation and antibody susceptibility, O-antigen level or other O-antigen features. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Kenyan S. Typhimurium and Enteritidis clinical isolates are susceptible to antibody-mediated killing, with degree of susceptibility varying with level of O-antigen for S. Typhimurium. This supports the development of an antibody-inducing vaccine against NTS for Africa. No clear differences were found in the phenotype of isolates from blood and stool, suggesting that the same isolates can cause invasive disease and gastroenteritis. Genome studies are required to understand whether invasive and gastrointestinal isolates differ at the genotypic level.

Ravenscroft N, Cescutti P, Gavini M, Stefanetti G, MacLennan CA, Martin LB, Micoli F. 2015. Structural analysis of the O-acetylated O-polysaccharide isolated from Salmonella paratyphi A and used for vaccine preparation. Carbohydr Res, 404 pp. 108-116. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella paratyphi A is increasingly recognized as a common cause of enteric fever cases and there are no licensed vaccines against this infection. Antibodies directed against the O-polysaccharide of the lipopolysaccharide of Salmonella are protective and conjugation of the O-polysaccharide to a carrier protein represents a promising strategy for vaccine development. O-Acetylation of S. paratyphi A O-polysaccharide is considered important for the immunogenicity of S. paratyphi A conjugate vaccines. Here, as part of a programme to produce a bivalent conjugate vaccine against both S. typhi and S. paratyphi A diseases, we have fully elucidated the O-polysaccharide structure of S. paratyphi A by use of HPLC-SEC, HPAEC-PAD/CD, GLC, GLC-MS, 1D and 2D-NMR spectroscopy. In particular, chemical and NMR studies identified the presence of O-acetyl groups on C-2 and C-3 of rhamnose in the lipopolysaccharide repeating unit, at variance with previous reports of O-acetylation at a single position. Moreover HR-MAS NMR analysis performed directly on bacterial pellets from several strains of S. paratyphi A also showed O-acetylation on C-2 and C-3 of rhamnose, thus this pattern is common and not an artefact from O-polysaccharide purification. Conjugation of the O-polysaccharide to the carrier protein had little impact on O-acetylation and therefore should not adversely affect the immunogenicity of the vaccine.

Meloni E, Colucci AM, Micoli F, Sollai L, Gavini M, Saul A, Di Cioccio V, MacLennan CA. 2015. Simplified low-cost production of O-antigen from Salmonella Typhimurium Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA). J Biotechnol, 198 pp. 46-52. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Novartis Vaccines Institute for Global Health is developing vaccines using outer membrane particles, known as Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA). These are blebs of outer membrane and periplasm, shed from the surface of living Gram-negative bacteria following the targeted deletion of proteins involved in maintaining the integrity of the inner and outer membranes. The current study investigates the use of GMMA as starting material for extraction of membrane components, focusing on the O-antigen polysaccharide portion of lipopolysaccharide from Salmonella Typhimurium. We show that the amount of O-antigen extracted from GMMA by acid hydrolysis is comparable to the quantity extracted from whole wild type bacteria, but with less protein and DNA contaminants. Compared to conventional purification, GMMA enabled a reduction in the number of purification steps required to obtain the O-antigen polysaccharide with the same purity. Purification processes from GMMA and bacteria were characterised by similar final yields. Use of GMMA as starting material provides the possibility to simplify the purification process of O-antigen, with a consequent decrease in manufacturing costs of O-antigen-based glyconjugate vaccines against Salmonella strains and potentially other Gram-negative bacteria.

Gilchrist JJ, Mills TC, Naranbhai V, Chapman SJ, Fairfax BP, Knight JC, Williams TN, Scott JAG, MacLennan CA, Rautanen A et al. 2015. Genetic variants associated with non-typhoidal Salmonella bacteraemia in African children. Lancet, 385 Suppl 1 pp. S13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS) causes invasive and frequently fatal disease in African children. Existing strategies to prevent, diagnose, and treat NTS disease are inadequate. An improved understanding of the biology of invasive Salmonella infection will facilitate the development of novel NTS control measures. Despite evidence in mice and man showing a clear role for host genetics in NTS susceptibility, there are no published studies investigating host genetic susceptibility to NTS in African populations. METHODS: We conducted a genome-wide association study (SNP Array 6.0, Affymetrix, CA, USA) of NTS bacteraemia in Kenyan children, with replication in Malawian children. We assessed the function of NTS-associated variants in an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) dataset of interferon γ (IFNγ) and lipopolysaccharide-stimulated monocytes from 432 healthy European adults. Serum IFNγ (Bio-Plex immunoassay, Bio-Rad Laboratories, CA, USA) in Malawian NTS cases (n=106) during acute disease was correlated with genotype by linear regression. FINDINGS: After whole-genome imputation and quality control, 180 Kenyan cases and 2677 controls were included in an association analysis at 7 951 614 (additive model) and 4 669 537 (genotypic model) loci. After quality control, 143 Malawian cases and 336 controls were included in the replication analysis. An intronic variant in STAT4 was associated (recessive model) with NTS in both Kenyan and Malawian children (Kenya p=5·6 × 10(-9), Malawi p=0·02, combined p=1·4 × 10(-9); odds ratio 7·2, 95% CI 3·8-13·5). The NTS-associated variant was an eQTL for STAT4 expression in IFNγ-stimulated monocytes (p=9·59 × 10(-6)), the NTS risk allele being associated with lower STAT4 expression. In Malawian children with NTS bacteraemia, the same NTS risk allele was associated with lower serum concentrations of IFNγ (p=0·02) at presentation. INTERPRETATION: STAT4 is highly plausible as a susceptibility locus for invasive NTS disease. STAT4 mediates IFNγ release in T cells and natural killer cells in response to interleukin 12 (IL12). Individuals with rare mutations elsewhere in the IL12-IFNγ axis are at risk of disseminated NTS infection. We provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of a host genetic determinant of NTS disease in African children, and of a STAT4 variant conferring susceptibility to an infectious disease in man. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Gilchrist JJ, Maclennan CA, Hill AVS. 2015. Erratum: Genetic susceptibility to invasive Salmonella disease (Nature Reviews Immunology (2015) 15 (452-463)) Nature Reviews Immunology, 15 (10), pp. 633. | Read more

Feasey NA, Masesa C, Jassi C, Faragher EB, Mallewa J, Mallewa M, MacLennan CA, Msefula C, Heyderman RS, Gordon MA. 2015. Three Epidemics of Invasive Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Bloodstream Infection in Blantyre, Malawi, 1998-2014. Clin Infect Dis, 61 Suppl 4 (suppl 4), pp. S363-S371. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme (MLW) has routinely collected specimens for blood culture from febrile patients, and cerebrospinal fluid from patients with suspected meningitis, presenting to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre, Malawi, since 1998. METHODS: We present bloodstream infection (BSI) and meningitis surveillance data from 1998 to 2014. Automated blood culture, manual speciation, serotyping, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing were performed at MLW. Population data for minimum-incidence estimates in urban Blantyre were drawn from published estimates. RESULTS: Between 1998 and 2014, 167,028 blood cultures were taken from adult and pediatric medical patients presenting to QECH; Salmonella Typhi was isolated on 2054 occasions (1.2%) and nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) serovars were isolated 10,139 times (6.1%), of which 8017 (79.1%) were Salmonella Typhimurium and 1608 (15.8%) were Salmonella Enteritidis. There were 392 cases of NTS meningitis and 9 cases of Salmonella Typhi meningitis. There have been 3 epidemics of Salmonella BSI in Blantyre; Salmonella Enteritidis from 1999 to 2002, Salmonella Typhimurium from 2002 to 2008, and Salmonella Typhi, which began in 2011 and was ongoing in 2014. Multidrug resistance has emerged in all 3 serovars and is seen in the overwhelming majority of isolates, while resistance to third-generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones is currently uncommon but has been identified. CONCLUSIONS: Invasive Salmonella disease in Malawi is dynamic and not clearly attributable to a single risk factor, although all 3 epidemics were associated with multidrug resistance. To inform nonvaccine and vaccine interventions, reservoirs of disease and modes of transmission require further investigation.

Stefanetti G, Hu Q-Y, Usera A, Robinson Z, Allan M, Singh A, Imase H, Cobb J, Zhai H, Quinn D et al. 2015. Sugar-Protein Connectivity Impacts on the Immunogenicity of Site-Selective Salmonella O-Antigen Glycoconjugate Vaccines. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl, 54 (45), pp. 13198-13203. | Show Abstract | Read more

A series of glycoconjugates with defined connectivity were synthesized to investigate the impact of coupling Salmonella typhimurium O-antigen to different amino acids of CRM197 protein carrier. In particular, two novel methods for site-selective glycan conjugation were developed to obtain conjugates with single attachment site on the protein, based on chemical modification of a disulfide bond and pH-controlled transglutaminase-catalyzed modification of lysine, respectively. Importantly, conjugation at the C186-201 bond resulted in significantly higher anti O-antigen bactericidal antibody titers than coupling to K37/39, and in comparable titers to conjugates bearing a larger number of saccharides. This study demonstrates that the conjugation site plays a role in determining the immunogenicity in mice and one single attachment point may be sufficient to induce high levels of bactericidal antibodies.

Rondini S, Micoli F, Lanzilao L, Gavini M, Alfini R, Brandt C, Clare S, Mastroeni P, Saul A, MacLennan CA. 2015. Design of glycoconjugate vaccines against invasive African Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Infect Immun, 83 (3), pp. 996-1007. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal salmonellae, particularly Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, are a major cause of invasive disease in Africa, affecting mainly young children and HIV-infected individuals. Glycoconjugate vaccines provide a safe and reliable strategy against invasive polysaccharide-encapsulated pathogens, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a target of protective immune responses. With the aim of designing an effective vaccine against S. Typhimurium, we have synthesized different glycoconjugates, by linking O-antigen and core sugars (OAg) of LPS to the nontoxic mutant of diphtheria toxin (CRM(197)). The OAg-CRM(197) conjugates varied in (i) OAg source, with three S. Typhimurium strains used for OAg extraction, producing OAg with differences in structural specificities, (ii) OAg chain length, and (iii) OAg/CRM(197) ratio. All glycoconjugates were compared for immunogenicity and ability to induce serum bactericidal activity in mice. In vivo enhancement of bacterial clearance was assessed for a selected S. Typhimurium glycoconjugate by challenge with live Salmonella. We found that the largest anti-OAg antibody responses were elicited by (i) vaccines synthesized from OAg with the highest glucosylation levels, (ii) OAg composed of mixed- or medium-molecular-weight populations, and (iii) a lower OAg/CRM(197) ratio. In addition, we found that bactericidal activity can be influenced by S. Typhimurium OAg strain, most likely as a result of differences in OAg O-acetylation and glucosylation. Finally, we confirmed that mice immunized with the selected OAg-conjugate were protected against S. Typhimurium colonization of the spleen and liver. In conclusion, our findings indicate that differences in the design of OAg-based glycoconjugate vaccines against invasive African S. Typhimurium can have profound effects on immunogenicity and therefore optimal vaccine design requires careful consideration.

Caboni M, Pédron T, Rossi O, Goulding D, Pickard D, Citiulo F, MacLennan CA, Dougan G, Thomson NR, Saul A et al. 2015. An O antigen capsule modulates bacterial pathogenesis in Shigella sonnei. PLoS Pathog, 11 (3), pp. e1004749. | Show Abstract | Read more

Shigella is the leading cause for dysentery worldwide. Together with several virulence factors employed for invasion, the presence and length of the O antigen (OAg) of the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plays a key role in pathogenesis. S. flexneri 2a has a bimodal OAg chain length distribution regulated in a growth-dependent manner, whereas S. sonnei LPS comprises a monomodal OAg. Here we reveal that S. sonnei, but not S. flexneri 2a, possesses a high molecular weight, immunogenic group 4 capsule, characterized by structural similarity to LPS OAg. We found that a galU mutant of S. sonnei, that is unable to produce a complete LPS with OAg attached, can still assemble OAg material on the cell surface, but a galU mutant of S. flexneri 2a cannot. High molecular weight material not linked to the LPS was purified from S. sonnei and confirmed by NMR to contain the specific sugars of the S. sonnei OAg. Deletion of genes homologous to the group 4 capsule synthesis cluster, previously described in Escherichia coli, abolished the generation of the high molecular weight OAg material. This OAg capsule strongly affects the virulence of S. sonnei. Uncapsulated knockout bacteria were highly invasive in vitro and strongly inflammatory in the rabbit intestine. But, the lack of capsule reduced the ability of S. sonnei to resist complement-mediated killing and to spread from the gut to peripheral organs. In contrast, overexpression of the capsule decreased invasiveness in vitro and inflammation in vivo compared to the wild type. In conclusion, the data indicate that in S. sonnei expression of the capsule modulates bacterial pathogenesis resulting in balanced capabilities to invade and persist in the host environment.

Wong VK, Baker S, Pickard DJ, Parkhill J, Page AJ, Feasey NA, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, Keane JA, Weill F-X et al. 2015. Phylogeographical analysis of the dominant multidrug-resistant H58 clade of Salmonella Typhi identifies inter- and intracontinental transmission events. Nat Genet, 47 (6), pp. 632-639. | Show Abstract | Read more

The emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) typhoid is a major global health threat affecting many countries where the disease is endemic. Here whole-genome sequence analysis of 1,832 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) identifies a single dominant MDR lineage, H58, that has emerged and spread throughout Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Our analysis identifies numerous transmissions of H58, including multiple transfers from Asia to Africa and an ongoing, unrecognized MDR epidemic within Africa itself. Notably, our analysis indicates that H58 lineages are displacing antibiotic-sensitive isolates, transforming the global population structure of this pathogen. H58 isolates can harbor a complex MDR element residing either on transmissible IncHI1 plasmids or within multiple chromosomal integration sites. We also identify new mutations that define the H58 lineage. This phylogeographical analysis provides a framework to facilitate global management of MDR typhoid and is applicable to similar MDR lineages emerging in other bacterial species.

Ispasanie E, Pluschke G, Hodgson A, Sie A, MacLennan C, Koeberling O. 2014. Characterization of vaccine antigens of meningococcal serogroup W isolates from Ghana and Burkina Faso from 2003 to 2009. F1000Res, 3 pp. 264. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of bacterial meningitis and a considerable health problem in the 25 countries of the 'African Meningitis Belt' that extends from Senegal in West Africa to Ethiopia in the East. Approximately 80% of cases of meningococcal meningitis in Africa have been caused by strains belonging to capsular serogroup A. After the introduction of a serogroup A conjugate polysaccharide vaccine, MenAfriVac (™), that began in December 2010, the incidence of meningitis due to serogroup A has markedly declined in this region. Currently, serogroup W of N. meningitidis accounts for the majority of cases. Vaccines based on sub-capsular antigens, such as Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA), are under investigation for use in Africa. To analyse the antigenic properties of a serogroup W wave of colonisation and disease, we investigated the molecular diversity of the protein vaccine antigens PorA, Neisserial Adhesin A (NadA), Neisserial heparin-binding antigen (NHBA) and factor H binding protein (fHbp) of 31 invasive and carriage serogroup W isolates collected as part of a longitudinal study from Ghana and Burkina Faso between 2003 and 2009. We found that the isolates all expressed fHbp variant 2 ID 22 or 23, differing from each other by only one amino acid, and a single PorA subtype of P1.5,2. Of the isolates, 49% had a functional nhbA gene and 100% had the nadA allele 3, which contained the insertion sequence IS1301 in five isolates. Of the W isolates tested, 41% had high fHbp expression when compared with a reference serogroup B strain, known to be a high expresser of fHbp variant 2. Our results indicate that in this collection of serogroup W isolates, there is limited antigenic diversification over time of vaccine candidate outer membrane proteins (OMP), thus making them promising candidates for inclusion in a protein-based vaccine against meningococcal meningitis for Africa.

MacLennan CA, Saul A. 2014. Vaccines against poverty. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111 (34), pp. 12307-12312. | Show Abstract | Read more

With the 2010s declared the Decade of Vaccines, and Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 focused on reducing diseases that are potentially vaccine preventable, now is an exciting time for vaccines against poverty, that is, vaccines against diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 has helped better understand which vaccines are most needed. In 2012, US$1.3 billion was spent on research and development for new vaccines for neglected infectious diseases. However, the majority of this went to three diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, and not neglected diseases. Much of it went to basic research rather than development, with an ongoing decline in funding for product development partnerships. Further investment in vaccines against diarrheal diseases, hepatitis C, and group A Streptococcus could lead to a major health impact in LMICs, along with vaccines to prevent sepsis, particularly among mothers and neonates. The Advanced Market Commitment strategy of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Alliance is helping to implement vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcus in LMICs, and the roll out of the MenAfriVac meningococcal A vaccine in the African Meningitis Belt represents a paradigm shift in vaccines against poverty: the development of a vaccine primarily targeted at LMICs. Global health vaccine institutes and increasing capacity of vaccine manufacturers in emerging economies are helping drive forward new vaccines for LMICs. Above all, partnership is needed between those developing and manufacturing LMIC vaccines and the scientists, health care professionals, and policy makers in LMICs where such vaccines will be implemented.

Nyirenda TS, Gilchrist JJ, Feasey NA, Glennie SJ, Bar-Zeev N, Gordon MA, MacLennan CA, Mandala WL, Heyderman RS. 2014. Sequential acquisition of T cells and antibodies to nontyphoidal Salmonella in Malawian children. J Infect Dis, 210 (1), pp. 56-64. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Salmonella Typhimurium (STm) remain a prominent cause of bacteremia in sub-Saharan Africa. Complement-fixing antibodies to STm develop by 2 years of age. We hypothesized that STm-specific CD4⁺ T cells develop alongside this process. METHODS: Eighty healthy Malawian children aged 0-60 months were recruited. STm-specific CD4⁺ T cells producing interferon γ, tumor necrosis factor α, and interleukin 2 were quantified using intracellular cytokine staining. Antibodies to STm were measured by serum bactericidal activity (SBA) assay, and anti-STm immunoglobulin G antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. RESULTS: Between 2006 and 2011, STm bacteremias were detected in 449 children <5 years old. STm-specific CD4⁺ T cells were acquired in infancy, peaked at 14 months, and then declined. STm-specific SBA was detectable in newborns, declined in the first 8 months, and then increased to a peak at age 35 months. Acquisition of SBA correlated with acquisition of anti-STm-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) immunoglobulin G (r = 0.329 [95% confidence interval, .552-.062]; P = .01) but not anti-STm-outer membrane protein or anti-STm-flagellar protein (FliC). CONCLUSIONS: Acquisition of STm-specific CD4⁺ T cells in early childhood is consistent with early exposure to STm or cross-reactive protein antigens priming this T-cell development. STm-specific CD4⁺ T cells seem insufficient to protect against invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease, but sequential acquisition of SBA to STm LPS is associated with a decline in its incidence.

Koeberling O, Ispasanie E, Hauser J, Rossi O, Pluschke G, Caugant DA, Saul A, MacLennan CA. 2014. A broadly-protective vaccine against meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa based on generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA). Vaccine, 32 (23), pp. 2688-2695. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Neisseria meningitidis causes epidemics of meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. These have mainly been caused by capsular group A strains, but W and X strains are increasingly contributing to the burden of disease. Therefore, an affordable vaccine that provides broad protection against meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa is required. METHODS: We prepared Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) from a recombinant serogroup W strain expressing PorA P1.5,2, which is predominant among African W isolates. The strain was engineered with deleted capsule locus genes, lpxL1 and gna33 genes and over-expressed fHbp variant 1, which is expressed by the majority of serogroup A and X isolates. RESULTS: We screened nine W strains with deleted capsule locus and gna33 for high-level GMMA release. A mutant with five-fold increased GMMA release compared with the wild type was further engineered with a lpxL1 deletion and over-expression of fHbp. GMMA from the production strain had 50-fold lower ability to stimulate IL-6 release from human PBMC and caused 1000-fold lower TLR-4 activation in Human Embryonic Kidney cells than non-detoxified GMMA. In mice, the GMMA vaccine induced bactericidal antibody responses against African W strains expressing homologous PorA and fHbp v.1 or v.2 (geometric mean titres [GMT]=80,000-200,000), and invasive African A and X strains expressing a heterologous PorA and fHbp variant 1 (GMT=20-2500 and 18-5500, respectively). Sera from mice immunised with GMMA without over-expressed fHbp v.1 were unable to kill the A and X strains, indicating that bactericidal antibodies against these strains are directed against fHbp. CONCLUSION: A GMMA vaccine produced from a recombinant African N. meningitidis W strain with deleted capsule locus, lpxL1, gna33 and overexpressed fHbp v.1 has potential as an affordable vaccine with broad coverage against strains from all main serogroups currently causing meningococcal meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa.

Maclennan CA. 2014. Out of Africa: links between invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease, typhoid fever, and malaria. Clin Infect Dis, 58 (5), pp. 648-650. | Read more

Micoli F, Ravenscroft N, Cescutti P, Stefanetti G, Londero S, Rondini S, Maclennan CA. 2014. Structural analysis of O-polysaccharide chains extracted from different Salmonella Typhimurium strains. Carbohydr Res, 385 pp. 1-8. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhimurium is the major cause of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in Africa, with high mortality among children and HIV-infected individuals. Currently, no vaccine is available for use in humans. Antibodies directed against the O-polysaccharide of the lipopolysaccharide molecule of Salmonella mediate bacterial killing and are protective, and conjugation of the O-polysaccharide to a carrier protein represents a possible strategy for vaccine development. Here we have purified the O-polysaccharide from six different strains of S. Typhimurium and fully characterized them using analytical methods including HPLC-SEC, HPAEC-PAD, GC, GC-MS, 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy. All the O-polysaccharide samples showed a similar bimodal molecular mass distribution, but differed with respect to the amount and position of O-acetylation and glucosylation. For some strains, O-acetyl groups were found not only on C-2 of abequose (factor 5 specificity), but also on C-2 and C-3 of rhamnose; glucose was found to be linked 1→4 or 1→6 to galactose in different amounts according to the strain of origin. This structural variability could have an impact on the immunogenicity of corresponding glycoconjugate vaccines and different strains need to be evaluated in order to identify the appropriate source of O-polysaccharide to use for the development of a candidate conjugate vaccine with broad coverage against S. Typhimurium.

Onsare RS, MacLennan CA. 2014. New genomics studies to understand the link between nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteremia and gastroenteritis in Africa. J Infect Dev Ctries, 8 (2), pp. 252-253. | Read more

MacLennan CA, Martin LB, Micoli F. 2014. Vaccines against invasive Salmonella disease: current status and future directions. Hum Vaccin Immunother, 10 (6), pp. 1478-1493. | Show Abstract | Read more

Though primarily enteric pathogens, Salmonellae are responsible for a considerable yet under-appreciated global burden of invasive disease. In South and South-East Asia, this manifests as enteric fever caused by serovars Typhi and Paratyphi A. In sub-Saharan Africa, a similar disease burden results from invasive nontyphoidal Salmonellae, principally serovars Typhimurium and Enteritidis. The existing Ty21a live-attenuated and Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccines target S. Typhi and are not effective in young children where the burden of invasive Salmonella disease is highest. After years of lack of investment in new Salmonella vaccines, recent times have seen increased interest in the area led by emerging-market manufacturers, global health vaccine institutes and academic partners. New glycoconjugate vaccines against S. Typhi are becoming available with similar vaccines against other invasive serovars in development. With other new vaccines under investigation, including live-attenuated, protein-based and GMMA vaccines, now is an exciting time for the Salmonella vaccine field.

Rossi O, Pesce I, Giannelli C, Aprea S, Caboni M, Citiulo F, Valentini S, Ferlenghi I, MacLennan CA, D'Oro U et al. 2014. Modulation of endotoxicity of Shigella generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA) by genetic lipid A modifications: relative activation of TLR4 and TLR2 pathways in different mutants. J Biol Chem, 289 (36), pp. 24922-24935. | Show Abstract | Read more

Outer membrane particles from Gram-negative bacteria are attractive vaccine candidates as they present surface antigens in their natural context. We previously developed a high yield production process for genetically derived particles, called generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA), from Shigella. As GMMA are derived from the outer membrane, they contain immunostimulatory components, especially lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We examined ways of reducing their reactogenicity by modifying lipid A, the endotoxic part of LPS, through deletion of late acyltransferase genes, msbB or htrB, in GMMA-producing Shigella sonnei and Shigella flexneri strains. GMMA with resulting penta-acylated lipid A from the msbB mutants showed a 600-fold reduced ability, and GMMA from the S. sonnei ΔhtrB mutant showed a 60,000-fold reduced ability compared with GMMA with wild-type lipid A to stimulate human Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in a reporter cell line. In human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, GMMA with penta-acylated lipid A showed a marked reduction in induction of inflammatory cytokines (S. sonnei ΔhtrB, 800-fold; ΔmsbB mutants, 300-fold). We found that the residual activity of these GMMA is largely due to non-lipid A-related TLR2 activation. In contrast, in the S. flexneri ΔhtrB mutant, a compensatory lipid A palmitoleoylation resulted in GMMA with hexa-acylated lipid A with ∼10-fold higher activity to stimulate peripheral blood mononuclear cells than GMMA with penta-acylated lipid A, mostly due to retained TLR4 activity. Thus, for use as vaccines, GMMA will likely require lipid A penta-acylation. The results identify the relative contributions of TLR4 and TLR2 activation by GMMA, which need to be taken into consideration for GMMA vaccine development.

Stefanetti G, Rondini S, Lanzilao L, Saul A, MacLennan CA, Micoli F. 2014. Impact of conjugation chemistry on the immunogenicity of S. Typhimurium conjugate vaccines. Vaccine, 32 (46), pp. 6122-6129. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella Typhimurium is major cause of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in Africa. Conjugation of S. Typhimurium O-antigen to an appropriate carrier protein constitutes a possible strategy for the development of a vaccine against this disease, for which no vaccines are currently available. The conjugation chemistry used is one of the parameters that can affect the immunogenicity of glycoconjugate vaccines. Herein different glycoconjugates were synthesized to investigate the impact of this variable on the immunogenicity of S. Typhimurium conjugate vaccines in mice, all with CRM₁₉₇ as carrier protein. Random derivatization along the O-antigen chain was compared with site-directed activation of the terminal KDO sugar residue of the core oligosaccharide. In particular, two different random approaches were used, based on the oxidation of the polysaccharide, which differently impact the structure and conformation of the O-antigen chain. For the selective conjugation methods, linkers of two different lengths were compared. When tested in mice, all conjugates induced anti-O-antigen IgG antibodies with serum bactericidal activity. Similar anti-O-antigen antibody levels were elicited independent of the chemistry used and a higher degree of saccharide derivatization did not impact negatively on the anti-O-antigen IgG response. Bactericidal activity of serum antibodies induced by selective conjugates was similar independent of the length of the spacer used. Random conjugates elicited antibodies with greater bactericidal activity than selective ones, and an inverse correlation was found between degree of O-antigen modification and antibody functional activity.

Siggins MK, O'Shaughnessy CM, Pravin J, Cunningham AF, Henderson IR, Drayson MT, MacLennan CA. 2014. Differential timing of antibody-mediated phagocytosis and cell-free killing of invasive African Salmonella allows immune evasion. Eur J Immunol, 44 (4), pp. 1093-1098. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae commonly cause fatal bacteraemia in African children lacking anti-Salmonella antibodies. These are facultative intracellular bacteria capable of cell-free and intracellular survival within macrophages. To better understand the relationship between extracellular and intracellular infection in blood and general mechanisms of Ab-related protection against Salmonella, we used human blood and sera to measure kinetics of Ab and complement deposition, serum-mediated bactericidal killing and phagocytosis of invasive African Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium D23580. Binding of antibodies peaked by 30 s, but C3 deposition lagged behind, peaking after 2-4 min. C5b-9 deposition was undetectable until between 2 and 6 min and peaked after 10 min, after which time an increase in serum-mediated killing occurred. In contrast, intracellular, opsonized Salmonellae were readily detectable within 5 min. By 10 min, around half of monocytes and most neutrophils contained bacteria. The same kinetics of serum-mediated killing and phagocytosis were observed with S. enterica Typhimurium laboratory strain SL1344, and the S. enterica Enteritidis African invasive isolate D24954 and laboratory strain PT4. The differential kinetics between cell-free killing and phagocytosis of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella allows these bacteria to escape the blood and establish intracellular infection before they are killed by the membrane attack complex.

Rossi O, Maggiore L, Necchi F, Koeberling O, MacLennan CA, Saul A, Gerke C. 2015. Comparison of colorimetric assays with quantitative amino acid analysis for protein quantification of Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA). Mol Biotechnol, 57 (1), pp. 84-93. | Show Abstract | Read more

Genetically induced outer membrane particles from Gram-negative bacteria, called Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA), are being investigated as vaccines. Rapid methods are required for estimating the protein content for in-process assays during production. Since GMMA are complex biological structures containing lipid and polysaccharide as well as protein, protein determinations are not necessarily straightforward. We compared protein quantification by Bradford, Lowry, and Non-Interfering assays using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as standard with quantitative amino acid (AA) analysis, the most accurate currently available method for protein quantification. The Lowry assay has the lowest inter- and intra-assay variation and gives the best linearity between protein amount and absorbance. In all three assays, the color yield (optical density per mass of protein) of GMMA was markedly different from that of BSA with a ratio of approximately 4 for the Bradford assay, and highly variable between different GMMA; and approximately 0.7 for the Lowry and Non-Interfering assays, highlighting the need for calibrating the standard used in the colorimetric assay against GMMA quantified by AA analysis. In terms of a combination of ease, reproducibility, and proportionality of protein measurement, and comparability between samples, the Lowry assay was superior to Bradford and Non-Interfering assays for GMMA quantification.

MacLennan CA. 2014. Antibodies and protection against invasive salmonella disease. Front Immunol, 5 (DEC), pp. 635. | Read more

Wells TJ, Whitters D, Sevastsyanovich YR, Heath JN, Pravin J, Goodall M, Browning DF, O'Shea MK, Cranston A, De Soyza A et al. 2014. Increased severity of respiratory infections associated with elevated anti-LPS IgG2 which inhibits serum bactericidal killing. J Exp Med, 211 (9), pp. 1893-1904. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although specific antibody induced by pathogens or vaccines is a key component of protection against infectious threats, some viruses, such as dengue, induce antibody that enhances the development of infection. In contrast, antibody-dependent enhancement of bacterial infection is largely unrecognized. Here, we demonstrate that in a significant portion of patients with bronchiectasis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection, antibody can protect the bacterium from complement-mediated killing. Strains that resist antibody-induced, complement-mediated killing produce lipopolysaccharide containing O-antigen. The inhibition of antibody-mediated killing is caused by excess production of O-antigen-specific IgG2 antibodies. Depletion of IgG2 to O-antigen restores the ability of sera to kill strains with long-chain O-antigen. Patients with impaired serum-mediated killing of P. aeruginosa by IgG2 have poorer respiratory function than infected patients who do not produce inhibitory antibody. We suggest that excessive binding of IgG2 to O-antigen shields the bacterium from other antibodies that can induce complement-mediated killing of bacteria. As there is significant sharing of O-antigen structure between different Gram-negative bacteria, this IgG2-mediated impairment of killing may operate in other Gram-negative infections. These findings have marked implications for our understanding of protection generated by natural infection and for the design of vaccines, which should avoid inducing such blocking antibodies.

Mandala WL, Ananworanich J, Apornpong T, Kerr SJ, MacLennan JM, Hanson C, Jaimulwong T, Gondwe EN, Rosenblatt HM, Bunupuradah T et al. 2014. Control lymphocyte subsets: can one country's values serve for another's? J Allergy Clin Immunol, 134 (3), pp. 759-761.e8. | Read more

Wong VK, Pickard DJ, Barquist L, Sivaraman K, Page AJ, Hart PJ, Arends MJ, Holt KE, Kane L, Mottram LF et al. 2013. Characterization of the yehUT two-component regulatory system of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi and Typhimurium. PLoS One, 8 (12), pp. e84567. | Show Abstract | Read more

Proteins exhibiting hyper-variable sequences within a bacterial pathogen may be associated with host adaptation. Several lineages of the monophyletic pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) have accumulated non-synonymous mutations in the putative two-component regulatory system yehUT. Consequently we evaluated the function of yehUT in S. Typhi BRD948 and S. Typhimurium ST4/74. Transcriptome analysis identified the cstA gene, encoding a carbon starvation protein as the predominantly yehUT regulated gene in both these serovars. Deletion of yehUT had no detectable effect on the ability of these mutant Salmonella to invade cultured epithelial cells (S. Typhi and S. Typhimurium) or induce colitis in a murine model (S. Typhimurium only). Growth, metabolic and antimicrobial susceptibility tests identified no obvious influences of yehUT on these phenotypes.

Micoli F, Romano MR, Tontini M, Cappelletti E, Gavini M, Proietti D, Rondini S, Swennen E, Santini L, Filippini S et al. 2013. Development of a glycoconjugate vaccine to prevent meningitis in Africa caused by meningococcal serogroup X. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110 (47), pp. 19077-19082. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of bacterial meningitis worldwide, especially in the African meningitis belt, and has a high associated mortality. The meningococcal serogroups A, W, and X have been responsible for epidemics and almost all cases of meningococcal meningitis in the meningitis belt over the past 12 y. Currently no vaccine is available against meningococcal X (MenX). Because the development of a new vaccine through to licensure takes many years, this leaves Africa vulnerable to new epidemics of MenX meningitis at a time when the epidemiology of meningococcal meningitis on the continent is changing rapidly, following the recent introduction of a glycoconjugate vaccine against serogroup A. Here, we report the development of candidate glycoconjugate vaccines against MenX and preclinical data from their use in animal studies. Following optimization of growth conditions of our seed MenX strain for polysaccharide (PS) production, a scalable purification process was developed yielding high amounts of pure MenX PS. Different glycoconjugates were synthesized by coupling MenX oligosaccharides of varying chain length to CRM197 as carrier protein. Analytical methods were developed for in-process control and determination of purity and consistency of the vaccines. All conjugates induced high anti-MenX PS IgG titers in mice. Antibodies were strongly bactericidal against African MenX isolates. These findings support the further development of glycoconjugate vaccines against MenX and their assessment in clinical trials to produce a vaccine against the one cause of epidemic meningococcal meningitis that currently cannot be prevented by available vaccines.

Rondini S, Lanzilao L, Necchi F, O'Shaughnessy CM, Micoli F, Saul A, MacLennan CA. 2013. Invasive African Salmonella Typhimurium induces bactericidal antibodies against O-antigens. Microb Pathog, 63 pp. 19-23. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonella are a major and emerging cause of fatal invasive disease in Africa, and are genetically distinct from those found elsewhere in the world. Understanding the targets of protective immunity to these African Salmonellae is key to vaccine development. We immunized mice and rabbits with heat-inactivated wild-type African invasive Salmonella Typhimurium D23580 and rough mutants lacking O-antigen. Wild-type Salmonella, unlike rough bacteria, induced a large bactericidal antibody response mainly against O-antigen. Bactericidal ability of anti-O-antigen antibodies was confirmed following purification by affinity chromatography. The current findings support the development of an O-antigen conjugate vaccine against invasive nontyphoidal Salmonellae for Africa.

MacLennan CA, Tennant SM. 2013. Comparing the roles of antibodies to nontyphoidal Salmonella enterica in high- and low-income countries and implications for vaccine development. Clin Vaccine Immunol, 20 (10), pp. 1487-1490. | Read more

Micoli F, Adamo R, Proietti D, Gavini M, Romano MR, MacLennan CA, Costantino P, Berti F. 2013. Meningococcal X polysaccharide quantification by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography using synthetic N-acetylglucosamine-4-phosphate as standard. Anal Biochem, 442 (2), pp. 259-261. | Show Abstract | Read more

A method for meningococcal X (MenX) polysaccharide quantification by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) is described. The polysaccharide is hydrolyzed by strong acidic treatment, and the peak of glucosamine-4-phosphate (4P-GlcN) is detected and measured after chromatography. In the selected conditions of hydrolysis, 4P-GlcN is the prevalent species formed, with GlcN detected for less than 5% in moles. As standard for the analysis, the monomeric unit of MenX polysaccharide, N-acetylglucosamine-4-phosphate (4P-GlcNAc), was used. This method for MenX quantification is highly selective and sensitive, and it constitutes an important analytical tool for the development of a conjugate vaccine against MenX.

MacLennan CA, Levine MM. 2013. Invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in Africa: current status. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 11 (5), pp. 443-446. | Read more

MacLennan CA. 2013. Vaccines for low-income countries. Semin Immunol, 25 (2), pp. 114-123. | Show Abstract | Read more

Low-income countries typically lag behind industrialised nations, where the introduction of new vaccines is commonly tailored to the pressures of the commercial market. Happily in recent years this paradigm has started to change with the introduction of a univalent meningococcal A conjugate vaccine that is specifically targeted for the prevention of epidemic meningitis in Africa. The declaration of the 2010s as a New Decade of Vaccines, together with Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, provide a strong mandate for a new approach to the development of vaccines for low-income countries, so that there has never been a more exciting time to work in this field. This review considers the opportunities and challenges of developing these new vaccines in the context of innovations in vaccinology, the need to induce protective immunity in the populations at risk and the requirement for strong partnership between the countries that will use these vaccines and different elements of the vaccine industry.

Dakar discussion group on priorities for research on epidemic meningococcal disease in Africa, Altmann D, Aseffa A, Bash M, Basta N, Borrow R, Broome C, Caugant D, Clark T, Collard J-M et al. 2013. Priorities for research on meningococcal disease and the impact of serogroup A vaccination in the African meningitis belt. Vaccine, 31 (11), pp. 1453-1457. | Show Abstract | Read more

For over 100 years, large epidemics of meningococcal meningitis have occurred every few years in areas of the African Sahel and sub-Sahel known as the African meningitis belt. Until recently, the main approach to the control of these epidemics has been reactive vaccination with a polysaccharide vaccine after an outbreak has reached a defined threshold and provision of easy access to effective treatment but this approach has not prevented the occurrence of new epidemics. Meningococcal conjugate vaccines, which can prevent meningococcal carriage and thus interrupt transmission, may be more effective than polysaccharide vaccines at preventing epidemics. Because the majority of African epidemics have been caused by serogroup A meningococci, a serogroup A polysaccharide/tetanus toxoid protein conjugate vaccine (PsA-TT) has recently been developed. Results from an initial evaluation of the impact of this vaccine on meningococcal disease and meningococcal carriage in Burkina Faso have been encouraging. To review how the research agenda for meningococcal disease in Africa has been changed by the advent of PsA-TT and to define a new set of research priorities for study of meningococcal infection in Africa, a meeting of 41 scientists was held in Dakar, Senegal on April 24th and 25th 2012. The research recommendations developed during the course of this meeting are presented in this paper. The need for enhanced surveillance for meningitis in defined populations with good diagnostic facilities in African countries at risk of epidemics was identified as the highest priority. This is needed to determine the duration of protection against serogroup A meningococcal disease provided by PsA-TT and to determine the risk of disease and carriage caused by meningococci of other serogroups. Other research areas given high priority included identification and validation of serological correlates of protection against meningococcal disease and carriage, development of improved methods for detecting carriage and epidemiological studies aimed at determining the reasons underlying the peculiar epidemiology of meningococcal disease in the African meningitis belt. Minutes and working papers from the meeting are provided in supplementary tables and some of the presentations made at the meeting are available on the MenAfriCar consortium website (www.menafricar.org) and on the web site of the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov).

Micoli F, Rondini S, Gavini M, Pisoni I, Lanzilao L, Colucci AM, Giannelli C, Pippi F, Sollai L, Pinto V et al. 2013. A scalable method for O-antigen purification applied to various Salmonella serovars. Anal Biochem, 434 (1), pp. 136-145. | Show Abstract | Read more

The surface lipopolysaccharide of gram-negative bacteria is both a virulence factor and a B cell antigen. Antibodies against O-antigen of lipopolysaccharide may confer protection against infection, and O-antigen conjugates have been designed against multiple pathogens. Here, we describe a simplified methodology for extraction and purification of the O-antigen core portion of Salmonella lipopolysaccharide, suitable for large-scale production. Lipopolysaccharide extraction and delipidation are performed by acetic acid hydrolysis of whole bacterial culture and can take place directly in a bioreactor, without previous isolation and inactivation of bacteria. Further O-antigen core purification consists of rapid filtration and precipitation steps, without using enzymes or hazardous chemicals. The process was successfully applied to various Salmonella enterica serovars (Paratyphi A, Typhimurium, and Enteritidis), obtaining good yields of high-quality material, suitable for conjugate vaccine preparations.

O'Shaughnessy CM, Micoli F, Gavini M, Goodall M, Cobbold M, Saul A, Maclennan CA. 2013. Purification of antibodies to O antigen of Salmonella Typhimurium from human serum by affinity chromatography. J Immunol Methods, 387 (1-2), pp. 199-210. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae (NTS) are a common cause of bacteraemia in children and HIV-infected adults in Sub-Saharan Africa. We have previously shown that antibodies play a key role in both bactericidal and cellular mechanisms of immunity to NTS, but found that high concentrations of antibody to Salmonella Typhimurium O antigen (OAg) in the serum of some HIV-infected African adults is associated with impaired killing of NTS. To further investigate the function of antibodies to the OAg of NTS, we developed a method to purify these antibodies from human serum by affinity chromatography. Purified Salmonella Typhimurium OAg was activated with adipic acid dihydrazide (ADH) via two different chemistries before linking to N-hydroxysuccinamide-Sepharose resin: one ADH molecule was introduced per OAg chain on its terminal 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid sugar (OAg-ADH), or multiple ADH molecules were attached along the OAg chain after oxidation with sodium periodate (OAgoxADH). Both resulting columns worked well when tested with commercial polyclonal anti-O:4,5 antibodies from rabbit serum. Over 90% of the applied antibodies bound to the resin and 89% of these antibodies were then eluted as detected by ELISA. OAg-ADH was preferred as the method for OAg derivatisation as it does not modify the saccharide chain and can be applied to OAg from different bacteria. Both columns were able to bind OAg-specific antibodies in human serum, but antibody recovery was initially low. Different elution buffers were tested and different amounts of OAg-ADH were linked to the resin to improve the yield. Optimal recovery (51%) was obtained by loading 1mg of activated OAg per ml of resin and eluting with 0.1M glycine, 0.1M NaCl pH2.4. The column matrix could be regenerated following elution with no detectable loss in performance for over ten uses. This method offers the potential to purify antibodies to Salmonella OAg from polyclonal serum following vaccination or natural exposure to Salmonella and so investigate the functionality and diversity of the antibody response to OAg.

Goh YS, MacLennan CA. 2013. Invasive African nontyphoidal Salmonella requires high levels of complement for cell-free antibody-dependent killing. J Immunol Methods, 387 (1-2), pp. 121-129. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal isolates of Salmonella (NTS), particularly Salmonella Typhimurium, are a major cause of invasive bacteremia in Africa. Despite this, no vaccine against NTS is currently available for use in humans. If a NTS vaccine is to be developed in a timely manner, there is a need to develop assays to assess its in vivo efficacy. Assessment of potential efficacy of candidate vaccines in preclinical models is important for proof-of-concept and reduces attrition of vaccines in clinical trials. Serum bactericidal assays (SBA) are often used to assess the functional activity of vaccine-induced antibody responses targeted against Gram-negative bacteria with results given as the maximum dilution of serum that can effect bacterial killing. Previously we have found evidence for a protective role for antibody-induced complement-mediated killing of NTS in African children using an undiluted whole serum SBA. However, endogenous complement in diluted human sera is limiting and insufficient to effect bactericidal activity against S. Typhimurium beyond two two-fold dilutions. In the current study, we examined the requirements for SBA against NTS using baby rabbit serum (BRS) as an exogenous source of complement. We found that the amount of complement required for antibody-mediated bactericidal activity is much higher for the invasive African S. Typhimurium isolate D23580, compared with the laboratory S. Typhimurium LT2 and Salmonella Paratyphi A CVD1901. While 20% BRS was sufficient to kill LT2 and CVD1901, 75% BRS was needed to kill D23580. Our findings demonstrate that one concentration of exogenous complement is not suitable for SBA against all Salmonella isolates. To develop SBA to assess the in vivo efficacy of Salmonella vaccines, it is necessary to optimize the assay for the Salmonella isolates against which the vaccine is targeted.

Marshall JL, Flores-Langarica A, Kingsley RA, Hitchcock JR, Ross EA, López-Macías C, Lakey J, Martin LB, Toellner K-M, MacLennan CA et al. 2012. The capsular polysaccharide Vi from Salmonella typhi is a B1b antigen. J Immunol, 189 (12), pp. 5527-5532. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vaccination with purified capsular polysaccharide Vi Ag from Salmonella typhi can protect against typhoid fever, although the mechanism for its efficacy is not clearly established. In this study, we have characterized the B cell response to this vaccine in wild-type and T cell-deficient mice. We show that immunization with typhoid Vi polysaccharide vaccine rapidly induces proliferation in B1b peritoneal cells, but not in B1a cells or marginal zone B cells. This induction of B1b proliferation is concomitant with the detection of splenic Vi-specific Ab-secreting cells and protective Ab in Rag1-deficient B1b cell chimeras generated by adoptive transfer-induced specific Ab after Vi immunization. Furthermore, Ab derived from peritoneal B cells is sufficient to confer protection against Salmonella that express Vi Ag. Expression of Vi by Salmonella during infection did not inhibit the development of early Ab responses to non-Vi Ags. Despite this, the protection conferred by immunization of mice with porin proteins from Salmonella, which induce Ab-mediated protection, was reduced postinfection with Vi-expressing Salmonella, although protection was not totally abrogated. This work therefore suggests that, in mice, B1b cells contribute to the protection induced by Vi Ag, and targeting non-Vi Ags as subunit vaccines may offer an attractive strategy to augment current Vi-based vaccine strategies.

O'Shaughnessy CM, Cunningham AF, Maclennan CA. 2012. The stability of complement-mediated bactericidal activity in human serum against Salmonella. PLoS One, 7 (11), pp. e49147. | Show Abstract | Read more

The complement cascade includes heat-labile proteins and care is required when handling serum in order to preserve its functional integrity. We have previously used a whole human serum bactericidal assay to show that antibody and an intact complement system are required in blood for killing of invasive isolates of Salmonella. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the conditions under which human serum can be stored and manipulated while maintaining complement integrity. Serum bactericidal activity against Salmonella was maintained for a minimum of 35 days when stored at 4°C, eight days at 22°C and 54 hours at 37°C. Up to three freeze-thaw cycles had no effect on the persistence of bactericidal activity and hemolytic complement assays confirmed no effect on complement function. Delay in the separation of serum for up to four days from clotted blood stored at 22°C did not affect bactericidal activity. Dilution of serum resulted in an increased rate of loss of bactericidal activity and so serum should be stored undiluted. These findings indicate that the current guidelines concerning manipulation and storage of human serum to preserve complement integrity and function leave a large margin for safety with regards to bactericidal activity against Salmonella. The study provides a scheme for determining the requirements for serum handling in relation to functional activity of complement in other systems.

Berti F, Romano MR, Micoli F, Pinto V, Cappelletti E, Gavini M, Proietti D, Pluschke G, MacLennan CA, Costantino P. 2012. Relative stability of meningococcal serogroup A and X polysaccharides. Vaccine, 30 (45), pp. 6409-6415. | Show Abstract | Read more

Prior to the introduction of the MenAfriVac™ serogroup A glycoconjugate vaccine in September 2010, serogroup A was the major epidemic disease-causing meningococcal serogroup in the African meningitis belt. However, recently serogroup X meningococcal (MenX) disease has received increased attention because of outbreaks recorded in this region, with increased endemic levels of MenX disease over the past 2 years. Whereas polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccines against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W and Y (MenA, MenC, MenW, MenY) are on the market, a vaccine able to protect against MenX has never been achieved. The structure of serogroup A, C, W and Y meningococcal polysaccharides has been already fully elucidated by NMR. MenX capsular polysaccharide (MenX CPS) structure is also documented but fewer characterization data have been published. We have applied here (1)H NMR, (31)P NMR and HPLC to evaluate the stability of MenX CPS in aqueous solution as compared to MenA capsular polysaccharide (MenA CPS). The stability study demonstrated that MenA CPS is more susceptible to hydrolytic degradation than MenX CPS. The different stereochemistry of the N-acetyl group at position C(2) of mannosamine (MenA CPS) and glucosamine (MenX CPS) respectively might play a fundamental role in this susceptibility to polysaccharide chain degradation. The satisfactory stability of MenX CPS predicts the possibility that a stable fully-liquid MenX polysaccharide or glycoconjugate vaccine could be developed.

Msefula CL, Kingsley RA, Gordon MA, Molyneux E, Molyneux ME, MacLennan CA, Dougan G, Heyderman RS. 2012. Genotypic homogeneity of multidrug resistant S. Typhimurium infecting distinct adult and childhood susceptibility groups in Blantyre, Malawi. PLoS One, 7 (7), pp. e42085. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) serovars are a common cause of bacteraemia in young children and HIV-infected adults in Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. These patient populations provide diverse host-immune environments that have the potential to drive bacterial adaptation and evolution. We therefore investigated the diversity of 27 multidrug resistant (MDR) Salmonella Typhimurium strains isolated over 6 years (2002-2008) from HIV-infected adults and children and HIV-uninfected children. Sequence reads from whole-genome sequencing of these isolates using the Illumina GA platform were mapped to the genome of the laboratory strain S. Typhimurium SL1344 excluding homoplastic regions that contained prophage and insertion elements. A phylogenetic tree generated from single nucleotide polymorphisms showed that all 27 strains clustered with the prototypical MDR strain D23580. There was no clustering of strains based on host HIV status or age, suggesting that these susceptible populations acquire S. Typhimurium from common sources or that isolates are transmitted freely between these populations. However, 7/14 of the most recent isolates (2006/2008) formed a distinct clade that branched off 22 SNPs away from the cluster containing earlier isolates. These data suggest that the MDR bacterial population is not static, but is undergoing microevolution which might result in further epidemiology change.

Greenwood B, Chiarot E, MacLennan CA, O'Ryan M. 2012. Can we defeat meningococcal disease in low and middle income countries? Vaccine, 30 Suppl 2 (SUPPL. 2), pp. B63-B66. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of multivalent conjugate and protein-based meningococcal vaccines may make global control of meningococcal disease possible. However, achieving control of meningococcal disease in low and middle income countries will be challenging. In low income countries whose vaccination programmes receive financial support from the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation, the main challenge is lack of sufficient epidemiological information to allow rational decisions on vaccine introduction to be made and, in these countries, enhanced surveillance is needed. In middle income countries, financial challenges predominate. These could be met by demonstration of the cost effectiveness of new meningococcal vaccines and through the introduction of a tiered-pricing system.

Whitelegg AME, Birtwistle J, Richter A, Campbell JP, Turner JE, Ahmed TM, Giles LJ, Fellows M, Plant T, Ferraro AJ et al. 2012. Measurement of antibodies to pneumococcal, meningococcal and haemophilus polysaccharides, and tetanus and diphtheria toxoids using a 19-plexed assay. J Immunol Methods, 377 (1-2), pp. 37-46. | Show Abstract | Read more

The measurement of antibody responses to vaccination is useful in the assessment of immune status in suspected immune deficiency. Previous reliance on enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assays (ELISA) has been cumbersome, time-consuming and expensive. The availability of flow cytometry systems has led to the development of multiplexed assays enabling simultaneous measurement of antibodies to several antigens. We optimized a flow cytometric bead-based assay to measure IgG and IgM concentrations in serum to 19 antigens contained in groups of bacterial subunit vaccines: pneumococcal vaccines, meningococcal vaccines, Haemophilus influenzae b (Hib), and tetanus and diphtheria toxoid vaccines. 89-SF was employed as the standard serum. The assay was used to determine specific antibody levels in serum from 193 healthy adult donors. IgG and pneumococcal IgM antibody concentrations were measurable across 3 log10 ranges encompassing the threshold protective IgG antibody levels for each antigen. There was little interference between antibody measurements by the 19-plexed assay compared with monoplexed assays, and a lack of cross-reactive IgG antibody, but evidence for cross-reacting IgM antibody for 3/19 pneumococcal antigens. 90th centile values for 15/19 IgG concentrations and 12/12 IgM concentrations of the 193 adult sera were within these ranges and percentages of sera containing protective IgG antibody levels varied from 4% to 95% depending on antigen. This multiplexed assay can simultaneously measure antibody levels to 19 bacterial vaccine antigens. It is suitable for use in standard clinical practice to assess the in vivo immune response to test vaccinations and measure absolute antibody levels to these antigens.

Lee S-J, Liang L, Juarez S, Nanton MR, Gondwe EN, Msefula CL, Kayala MA, Necchi F, Heath JN, Hart P et al. 2012. Identification of a common immune signature in murine and human systemic Salmonellosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109 (13), pp. 4998-5003. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the importance of Salmonella infections in human and animal health, the target antigens of Salmonella-specific immunity remain poorly defined. We have previously shown evidence for antibody-mediating protection against invasive Salmonellosis in mice and African children. To generate an overview of antibody targeting in systemic Salmonellosis, a Salmonella proteomic array containing over 2,700 proteins was constructed and probed with immune sera from Salmonella-infected mice and humans. Analysis of multiple inbred mouse strains identified 117 antigens recognized by systemic antibody responses in murine Salmonellosis. Importantly, many of these antigens were independently identified as target antigens using sera from Malawian children with Salmonella bacteremia, validating the study of the murine model. Furthermore, vaccination with SseB, the most prominent antigenic target in Malawian children, provided mice with significant protection against Salmonella infection. Together, these data uncover an overlapping immune signature of disseminated Salmonellosis in mice and humans and provide a foundation for the generation of a protective subunit vaccine.

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Okoro CK, Kingsley RA, Connor TR, Harris SR, Parry CM, Al-Mashhadani MN, Kariuki S, Msefula CL, Gordon MA, de Pinna E et al. 2012. Intracontinental spread of human invasive Salmonella Typhimurium pathovariants in sub-Saharan Africa NATURE GENETICS, 44 (11), pp. 1215-1221. | Read more

MacLennan CA. 2012. Host defense against malaria favors Salmonella. Nat Med, 18 (1), pp. 21-22. | Show Abstract | Read more

The beneficial cytoprotective effects of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in malaria infection are counterpoised by higher susceptibility to nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) bacteremia. A new study in mice co-infected with malaria and Salmonella provides a mechanism for the long-recognized association between malaria and NTS infection in African children. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Okoro CK, Kingsley RA, Connor TR, Harris SR, Parry CM, Al-Mashhadani MN, Kariuki S, Msefula CL, Gordon MA, de Pinna E et al. 2012. Intracontinental spread of human invasive Salmonella Typhimurium pathovariants in sub-Saharan Africa. Nat Genet, 44 (11), pp. 1215-1221. | Show Abstract | Read more

A highly invasive form of non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease has recently been documented in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The most common Salmonella enterica serovar causing this disease is Typhimurium (Salmonella Typhimurium). We applied whole-genome sequence-based phylogenetic methods to define the population structure of sub-Saharan African invasive Salmonella Typhimurium isolates and compared these to global Salmonella Typhimurium populations. Notably, the vast majority of sub-Saharan invasive Salmonella Typhimurium isolates fell within two closely related, highly clustered phylogenetic lineages that we estimate emerged independently ∼52 and ∼35 years ago in close temporal association with the current HIV pandemic. Clonal replacement of isolates from lineage I by those from lineage II was potentially influenced by the use of chloramphenicol for the treatment of iNTS disease. Our analysis suggests that iNTS disease is in part an epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa caused by highly related Salmonella Typhimurium lineages that may have occupied new niches associated with a compromised human population and antibiotic treatment.

Raghunathan D, Wells TJ, Morris FC, Shaw RK, Bobat S, Peters SE, Paterson GK, Jensen KT, Leyton DL, Blair JMA et al. 2011. SadA, a trimeric autotransporter from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, can promote biofilm formation and provides limited protection against infection. Infect Immun, 79 (11), pp. 4342-4352. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica is a major cause of morbidity worldwide and mortality in children and immunocompromised individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. Outer membrane proteins of Salmonella are of significance because they are at the interface between the pathogen and the host, they can contribute to adherence, colonization, and virulence, and they are frequently targets of antibody-mediated immunity. In this study, the properties of SadA, a purported trimeric autotransporter adhesin of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, were examined. We demonstrated that SadA is exposed on the Salmonella cell surface in vitro and in vivo during infection of mice. Expression of SadA resulted in cell aggregation, biofilm formation, and increased adhesion to human intestinal Caco-2 epithelial cells. Immunization of mice with folded, full-length, purified SadA elicited an IgG response which provided limited protection against bacterial challenge. When anti-SadA IgG titers were enhanced by administering alum-precipitated protein, a modest additional protection was afforded. Therefore, despite SadA having pleiotropic functions, it is not a dominant, protective antigen for antibody-mediated protection against Salmonella.

MacLennan CA, Huissoon AP, Kumararatne DS. 2011. Vaccine-derived poliomyelitis 12 years after infection. N Engl J Med, 365 (14), pp. 1355. | Read more

Siggins MK, Cunningham AF, Marshall JL, Chamberlain JL, Henderson IR, MacLennan CA. 2011. Erratum: Absent bactericidal activity of mouse serum against invasive African nontyphoidal Salmonella results from impaired complement function but not a lack of antibody (Journal of Immunology (2011) 186 (2365-2371)) Journal of Immunology, 186 (7), pp. 4527. | Read more

Siggins MK, Cunningham AF, Marshall JL, Chamberlain JL, Henderson IR, MacLennan CA. 2011. Absent bactericidal activity of mouse serum against invasive African nontyphoidal Salmonella results from impaired complement function but not a lack of antibody. J Immunol, 186 (4), pp. 2365-2371. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella are a major cause of fatal bacteremia in Africa. Developing a vaccine requires an improved understanding of the relevant mechanisms of protective immunity, and the mouse model of Salmonella infection is useful for studying immunity to Salmonella in vivo. It is important to appreciate the similarities and differences between immunity to Salmonella in mice and men. Ab is important for protection against nontyphoidal Salmonella in both species, and we have previously found an important role for Ab in cell-free complement-mediated bactericidal activity against Salmonella in Africans. It is unclear whether this modality of immunity is relevant in the mouse model. C57BL/6, BALB/c, and C3H mice immunized with heat-killed Salmonella Typhimurium strains D23580 (African invasive strain) and SL1344 and live-attenuated strain SL3261 produced a Salmonella-specific Ab response. Sera from these mice deposited reduced levels of C3 on Salmonella compared with human sera and were unable to kill both wild-type and galE(-) rough mutant of D23580, indicating absent cell-free killing via classical and alternative complement pathways. Supplementing immune mouse sera with human complement enabled killing of Salmonella, whereas addition of human anti-Salmonella Ab to immune mouse sera had no effect. These findings indicate that mouse serum cannot effect [corrected] cell-free complement-dependent killing of Salmonella, because of the reduced mouse complement ability to kill these bacteria compared with human complement. This difference in Ab-dependent immunity to Salmonella in mice and men must be considered when applying findings from the mouse model of Salmonella disease and vaccination response to man.

Seeley AE, Richardson PR, Plant T, Manavi K, Freeman S, Drayson MT, MacLennan CA. 2010. T cell subset enumeration and weekend HIV clinics: reliable performance of CD4 cell counts after 3 days. Clin Infect Dis, 51 (9), pp. 1107-1108. | Read more

MacLennan CA, Gilchrist JJ, Gordon MA, Cunningham AF, Cobbold M, Goodall M, Kingsley RA, van Oosterhout JJG, Msefula CL, Mandala WL et al. 2010. Dysregulated humoral immunity to nontyphoidal Salmonella in HIV-infected African adults. Science, 328 (5977), pp. 508-512. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae are a major cause of life-threatening bacteremia among HIV-infected individuals. Although cell-mediated immunity controls intracellular infection, antibodies protect against Salmonella bacteremia. We report that high-titer antibodies specific for Salmonella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are associated with a lack of Salmonella-killing in HIV-infected African adults. Killing was restored by genetically shortening LPS from the target Salmonella or removing LPS-specific antibodies from serum. Complement-mediated killing of Salmonella by healthy serum is shown to be induced specifically by antibodies against outer membrane proteins. This killing is lost when excess antibody against Salmonella LPS is added. Thus, our study indicates that impaired immunity against nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteremia in HIV infection results from excess inhibitory antibodies against Salmonella LPS, whereas serum killing of Salmonella is induced by antibodies against outer membrane proteins.

Gondwe EN, Molyneux ME, Goodall M, Graham SM, Mastroeni P, Drayson MT, MacLennan CA. 2010. Importance of antibody and complement for oxidative burst and killing of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella by blood cells in Africans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107 (7), pp. 3070-3075. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacteremia caused by nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella is endemic among African children. Case-fatality rates are high and antibiotic resistance increasing, but no vaccine is currently available. T cells are important for clearance of Salmonella infection within macrophages, but in Africa, invasive Salmonella disease usually manifests in the blood and affects children between 4 months and 2 y of age, when anti-Salmonella antibody is absent. We have previously found a role for complement-fixing bactericidal antibody in protecting these children. Here we show that opsonic activity of antibody and complement is required for oxidative burst and killing of Salmonella by blood cells in Africans. Induction of neutrophil oxidative burst correlated with anti-Salmonella IgG and IgM titers and C3 deposition on bacteria and was significantly lower in African children younger than 2 y compared with older children. Preopsonizing Salmonella with immune serum overcame this deficit, indicating a requirement for antibody and/or complement. Using different opsonization procedures, both antibody and complement were found to be necessary for optimal oxidative burst, phagocytosis and killing of nontyphoidal Salmonella by peripheral blood cells in Africans. Although most strains of African nontyphoidal Salmonella can be killed with antibody and complement alone, phagocytes in the presence of specific antibody and complement can kill strains resistant to killing by immune serum. These findings increase the likelihood that an antibody-inducing vaccine will protect against invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in African children.

Nyirenda TS, Seeley AE, Mandala WL, Drayson MT, MacLennan CA. 2010. Early interferon-γ production in human lymphocyte subsets in response to nontyphoidal Salmonella demonstrates inherent capacity in innate cells. PLoS One, 5 (10), pp. e13667. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Nontyphoidal Salmonellae frequently cause life-threatening bacteremia in sub-Saharan Africa. Young children and HIV-infected adults are particularly susceptible. High case-fatality rates and increasing antibiotic resistance require new approaches to the management of this disease. Impaired cellular immunity caused by defects in the T helper 1 pathway lead to intracellular disease with Salmonella that can be countered by IFNγ administration. This report identifies the lymphocyte subsets that produce IFNγ early in Salmonella infection. METHODOLOGY: Intracellular cytokine staining was used to identify IFNγ production in blood lymphocyte subsets of ten healthy adults with antibodies to Salmonella (as evidence of immunity to Salmonella), in response to stimulation with live and heat-killed preparations of the D23580 invasive African isolate of Salmonella Typhimurium. The absolute number of IFNγ-producing cells in innate, innate-like and adaptive lymphocyte subpopulations was determined. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Early IFNγ production was found in the innate/innate-like lymphocyte subsets: γδ-T cells, NK cells and NK-like T cells. Significantly higher percentages of such cells produced IFNγ compared to adaptive αβ-T cells (Student's t test, P<0.001 and ≤0.02 for each innate subset compared, respectively, with CD4(+)- and CD8(+)-T cells). The absolute numbers of IFNγ-producing cells showed similar differences. The proportion of IFNγ-producing γδ-T cells, but not other lymphocytes, was significantly higher when stimulated with live compared with heat-killed bacteria (P<0.0001). CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings indicate an inherent capacity of innate/innate-like lymphocyte subsets to produce IFNγ early in the response to Salmonella infection. This may serve to control intracellular infection and reduce the threat of extracellular spread of disease with bacteremia which becomes life-threatening in the absence of protective antibody. These innate cells may also help mitigate against the effect on IFNγ production of depletion of Salmonella-specific CD4(+)-T lymphocytes in HIV infection.

Mandala WL, MacLennan JM, Gondwe EN, Ward SA, Molyneux ME, MacLennan CA. 2010. Lymphocyte subsets in healthy Malawians: implications for immunologic assessment of HIV infection in Africa. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 125 (1), pp. 203-208. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: CD4(+)T lymphocyte measurements are the most important indicator of mortality in HIV-infected individuals in resource-limited settings. There is currently a lack of comprehensive immunophenotyping data from African populations to guide the immunologic assessment of HIV infection. OBJECTIVE: To quantify variation in absolute and relative lymphocyte subsets with age in healthy Malawians. METHODS: Lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood of 539 healthy HIV-uninfected Malawians stratified by age were enumerated by flow cytometry. RESULTS: B and T-lymphocyte and T-lymphocyte subset absolute concentrations peaked in early childhood then decreased to adult levels, whereas lymphocyte subset proportions demonstrated much less variation with age. Adult lymphocyte subsets were similar to those in developed countries. In contrast, high B-lymphocyte and CD8(+)T-lymphocyte levels among children under 2 years, relative to those in developed countries, resulted in low CD4(+)T-lymphocyte percentages that varied little between 0 and 5 years (35% to 39%). The CD4(+)T-lymphocyte percentages in 35% of healthy children under 1 year and 18% of children age 1 to 3 years were below the World Health Organization threshold defining immunodeficiency in HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings. Thirteen percent of healthy children under 18 months old had a CD4:CD8T-lymphocyte ratio <1.0, which is commonly associated with HIV infection. All immunologic parameters except absolute natural killer lymphocyte concentration varied significantly with age, and percentage and overall absolute CD4(+)T-lymphocyte counts were higher in females than males. CONCLUSION: Although lymphocyte subsets in Malawian adults are similar to those from developed countries, CD4(+)T-lymphocyte percentages in young children are comparatively low. These findings need to be considered when assessing the severity of HIV-related immunodeficiency in African children under 3 years.

Kingsley RA, Msefula CL, Thomson NR, Kariuki S, Holt KE, Gordon MA, Harris D, Clarke L, Whitehead S, Sangal V et al. 2009. Epidemic multiple drug resistant Salmonella Typhimurium causing invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa have a distinct genotype. Genome Res, 19 (12), pp. 2279-2287. | Show Abstract | Read more

Whereas most nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) are associated with gastroenteritis, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of NTS-associated invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates are responsible for a significant proportion of the reported invasive NTS in this region. Multilocus sequence analysis of invasive S. Typhimurium from Malawi and Kenya identified a dominant type, designated ST313, which currently is rarely reported outside of Africa. Whole-genome sequencing of a multiple drug resistant (MDR) ST313 NTS isolate, D23580, identified a distinct prophage repertoire and a composite genetic element encoding MDR genes located on a virulence-associated plasmid. Further, there was evidence of genome degradation, including pseudogene formation and chromosomal deletions, when compared with other S. Typhimurium genome sequences. Some of this genome degradation involved genes previously implicated in virulence of S. Typhimurium or genes for which the orthologs in S. Typhi are either pseudogenes or are absent. Genome analysis of other epidemic ST313 isolates from Malawi and Kenya provided evidence for microevolution and clonal replacement in the field.

Maclennan CA, Vincent A, Marx A, Willcox N, Gilhus NE, Newsom-Davis J, Beeson D. 2008. Preferential expression of AChR epsilon-subunit in thymomas from patients with myasthenia gravis. J Neuroimmunol, 201-202 (C), pp. 28-32. | Show Abstract | Read more

The role of antigen expression by thymomas in myasthenia gravis (MG) is not clear. Previous reports of acetylcholine receptor (AChR) mRNA expression by the highly sensitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions (RT-PCR) produced varying results. To try to clarify this issue, we first used RT-PCR but then turned to the more accurate and quantitative RNase protection assays (RPA) to assess AChR subunit mRNA expression in thymomas from 25 patients (22 with MG). By RT-PCR, all five AChR subunits could be detected in many thymomas. However, by RPA, the mRNA for the adult-specific AChR epsilon-subunit was found in 13/25 (52%) thymomas, but not mRNA for the other subunits. AChR epsilon-subunit was more frequently detected in thymomas of A or AB histology (WHO classification) than those with B1-B3 histology. Overall, 6/6 with thymomas of A or AB histology were positive compared with only 8/19 with B histology (p=0.02). Autoantibodies in the two patients with the highest levels of epsilon-subunit mRNA bound better to adult (alpha(2)betadeltaepsilon) AChR than to fetal (alpha(2)betadeltagamma) AChR, whereas the other sera bound better to fetal AChR. The greater abundance of mRNA for AChR epsilon-subunit than for other subunits suggests that the AChR epsilon-subunit may play a distinctive role in autosensitization in MG-associated thymomas, particularly those of type A or AB.

MacLennan CA, Gondwe EN, Msefula CL, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, White SA, Goodall M, Pickard DJ, Graham SM, Dougan G et al. 2008. The neglected role of antibody in protection against bacteremia caused by nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella in African children. J Clin Invest, 118 (4), pp. 1553-1562. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella (NTS) are a common cause of bacteremia among African children. Cell-mediated immune responses control intracellular infection, but they do not protect against extracellular growth of NTS in the blood. We investigated whether antibody protects against NTS bacteremia in Malawian children, because we found this condition mainly occurs before 2 years of age, with relative sparing of infants younger than 4 months old. Sera from all healthy Malawian children tested aged more than 16 months contained anti-Salmonella antibody and successfully killed NTS. Killing was mediated by complement membrane attack complex and not augmented in the presence of blood leukocytes. Sera from most healthy children less than 16 months old lacked NTS-specific antibody, and sera lacking antibody did not kill NTS despite normal complement function. Addition of Salmonella-specific antibody, but not mannose-binding lectin, enabled NTS killing. All NTS strains tested had long-chain lipopolysaccharide and the rck gene, features that resist direct complement-mediated killing. Disruption of lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis enabled killing of NTS by serum lacking Salmonella-specific antibody. We conclude that Salmonella-specific antibody that overcomes the complement resistance of NTS develops by 2 years of life in Malawian children. This finding and the age-incidence of NTS bacteremia suggest that antibody protects against NTS bacteremia and support the development of vaccines against NTS that induce protective antibody.

Wassmer SC, Taylor T, Maclennan CA, Kanjala M, Mukaka M, Molyneux ME, Grau GE. 2008. Platelet-induced clumping of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes from Malawian patients with cerebral malaria-possible modulation in vivo by thrombocytopenia. J Infect Dis, 197 (1), pp. 72-78. | Show Abstract | Read more

Platelets may play a role in the pathogenesis of human cerebral malaria (CM), and they have been shown to induce clumping of Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized red blood cells (PRBCs) in vitro. Both thrombocytopenia and platelet-induced PRBC clumping are associated with severe malaria and, especially, with CM. In the present study, we investigated the occurrence of the clumping phenomenon in patients with CM by isolating and coincubating their plasma and PRBCs ex vivo. Malawian children with CM all had low platelet counts, with the degree of thrombocytopenia directly proportional to the density of parasitemia. Plasma samples obtained from these patients subsequently induced weak PRBC clumping. When the assays were repeated, with the plasma platelet concentrations adjusted to within the physiological range considered to be normal, massive clumping occurred. The results of this study suggest that thrombocytopenia may, through reduction of platelet-mediated clumping of PRBCs, provide a protective mechanism for the host during CM.

Mturi N, Keir G, Maclennan CA, Ross A, Willis AC, Elford BC, Berkley JA, Newton CRJC. 2008. Cerebrospinal Fluid Studies in Kenyan Children with Severe Falciparum Malaria. Open Trop Med J, 1 (1), pp. 56-62. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of the neurological complications of Plasmodium falciparum malaria is unclear. We measured proteins and amino acids in paired plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples in children with severe falciparum malaria, to assess the integrity of the blood brain barrier (BBB), and look for evidence of intrathecal synthesis of immunoglobulins, excitotoxins and brain damage. METHODS: Proteins of different molecular sizes and immunoglobulins were measured in paired CSF and plasma samples in children with falciparum malaria and either impaired consciousness, prostrate, or seizures. RESULTS: The ratio of CSF to plasma albumin (Q(alb)) exceeded the reference values in 42 (51%) children. The CSF concentrations of the excitotoxic amino acid aspartate and many non-polar amino acids, except alanine, were above the reference value, despite normal plasma concentrations. IgM concentrations were elevated in 21 (46%) and the IgM index was raised in 22 (52%). Identical IgG oligoclonal bands were found in 9 (35%), but only one patient had an increase in the CSF IgG without a concomitant increase in plasma indicating intrathecal synthesis of IgG. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the BBB is mildly impaired in some children with severe falciparum malaria, and this impairment is not confined to cerebral malaria, but also occurs in children with prostrate malaria and to a lesser extent the children with malaria and seizures. There is evidence of intrathecal synthesis of immunoglobulins in children with malaria, but this requires further investigation. This finding, together with raised level of excitotoxic amino acid aspartate could contribute to the pathogenesis of neurological complications in malaria.

Maclennan CA, Dzumani F, Namarika A, Moons P, Senga E, Molyneux ME, Drayson MT, Bunn JEG. 2008. Affordable pediatric CD4 counting by flow cytometry in Malawi. Cytometry B Clin Cytom, 74 Suppl 1 (S1), pp. S90-S97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Rapid expansion of antiretroviral therapy in Malawi has occurred in the relative absence of suitable pediatric CD4 counting facilities. We have recently validated in adults a simplified affordable flow cytometric CD4 counting method, the Blantyre count. There is a need for this technology to transfer to government laboratories run by local staff, and to be validated in children, where %CD4/lymphocyte values are required. METHODS: We assessed agreement of %CD4/lymphocyte values determined by the Blantyre count and Panleucogate methods on an EPICS XL-MCL flow cytometer on 113 venous blood samples from HIV-seropositive children in Blantyre, Malawi. All assays were performed by two Malawian laboratory technicians. RESULTS: Overall bias between the two methods was -0.13% (95% CI -0.37 to 0.11) and limits of agreement were -2.69 to 2.43% (95% CI -3.11 to -2.27 and 2.01 to 2.85). Limits of agreement were within -3.00 and 3.00 for each laboratory technician. Coefficient of variation for the Blantyre count assay was 2.0% and samples showed good stability over 5 days. CONCLUSIONS: The Blantyre count method can accurately determine %CD4/lymphocyte values in blood of HIV-seropositive children on an EPIC XL-MCL flow cytometer at a reagent cost of US $0.21 per test or less. The assay can be competently carried out by local laboratory technicians.

MacLennan CA. 2007. Erratum: Diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a simplified low cost method of counting CD4 cells with flow cytometry in Malawi: Diagnostic accuracy study (British Medical Journal (2007) 335, (190-194)) British Medical Journal, 335 (7624), pp. 805.

MacLennan CA, van Oosterhout JJG, White SA, Drayson MT, Zijlstra EE, Molyneux ME. 2007. Finger-prick blood samples can be used interchangeably with venous samples for CD4 cell counting indicating their potential for use in CD4 rapid tests. AIDS, 21 (12), pp. 1643-1645. | Show Abstract | Read more

The objective of this study was to investigate the utility of finger-prick blood samples for CD4 cell counting. We estimated agreement between CD4 cell counts in paired finger-prick and venous samples from 110 HIV-infected adults from Malawi. Bias was 6.6 cells/microl (limits of agreement -50.7 and 63.7 cells/microl) for absolute counts and 0.71% (limits of agreement -2.07 and 3.48%) for %CD4/lymphocyte suggesting that finger-prick blood samples can be used interchangeably with venous samples for CD4 cell counting.

MacLennan CA, Liu MKP, White SA, van Oosterhout JJG, Simukonda F, Bwanali J, Moore MJ, Zijlstra EE, Drayson MT, Molyneux ME. 2007. Diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a simplified low cost method of counting CD4 cells with flow cytometry in Malawi: diagnostic accuracy study. BMJ, 335 (7612), pp. 190. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To assess the diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a simplified low cost method for measuring absolute and percentage CD4 counts with flow cytometry. DESIGN: A CD4 counting method (Blantyre count) using a CD4 and CD45 antibody combination with reduced blood and reagent volumes. Diagnostic accuracy was assessed by measuring agreement of the index test with two other assays (TruCount and FACSCount). Clinical utility was investigated by comparing CD4 counts with the new assay with WHO clinical staging in patients with HIV. SETTING: Research laboratories and antiretroviral therapy clinic at a medical school and large government hospital in southern Malawi. PARTICIPANTS: Assay comparisons were performed on consecutive blood samples sent for CD4 counting from 129 patients with HIV. Comparison of CD4 count with staging was conducted on 253 consecutive new patients attending the antiretroviral therapy clinic. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Limits of agreement with 95% confidence intervals between index test and reference standards. RESULTS: The limits of agreement for Blantyre count and TruCount were excellent (cell count -48.9 to 27.0 x10(9)/l for absolute counts in the CD4 range <400x10(9)/l and -2.42% to 2.37% for CD4 percentage). The assay was affordable with reagent costs per test of $0.44 ( pound0.22, euro0.33) for both absolute count and CD4 percentage, and $0.11 for CD4 percentage alone. Of 193 patients with clinical stage I or II disease, who were ineligible for antiretroviral therapy by clinical staging criteria, 73 (38%) had CD4 counts <200x10(9)/l. By contrast, 12 (20%) of 60 patients with stage III or IV disease had CD4 counts >350x10(9)/l. CONCLUSIONS: This simplified method of counting CD4 cells with flow cytometry has good agreement with established commercial assays, is affordable for routine clinical use in Africa, and could improve clinical decision making in patients with HIV.

MacLennan C, MacLennan J. 2005. What threat from persistent vaccine-related poliovirus? Lancet, 366 (9483), pp. 351-353. | Read more

MacLennan C, Lammas DA, Kumararatne DS. 2005. Anti-interleukin-12 antibody treatment for Crohn disease: potential risk of invasive disease due to mycobacteria and salmonellae infection. Clin Infect Dis, 40 (9), pp. 1381-1382. | Read more

MacLennan C, Solomon T. 2004. Potential neurovirulence of common cold virus. Lancet, 364 (9448), pp. 1839-1840. | Read more

MacLennan C, Dunn G, Huissoon AP, Kumararatne DS, Martin J, O'Leary P, Thompson RA, Osman H, Wood P, Minor P et al. 2004. Failure to clear persistent vaccine-derived neurovirulent poliovirus infection in an immunodeficient man. Lancet, 363 (9420), pp. 1509-1513. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Individuals who chronically excrete neurovirulent poliovirus of vaccine-origin are of considerable concern to the Global Polio Eradication programme. Chronic infection with such polioviruses is a recognised complication of hypogammaglobulinaemia. METHODS: We did a series of in-vitro and in-vivo therapeutic studies, with a view to clearing persistent neurovirulent poliovirus infection in an individual with common variable immunodeficiency, using oral immunoglobulin, breast milk (as a source of secretory IgA), ribavirin, and the anti-picornaviral agent pleconaril. We undertook viral quantitation, antibody neutralisation and drug susceptibility assays, and viral gene sequencing. FINDINGS: Long-term asymptomatic excretion of vaccine-derived neurovirulent poliovirus 2 was identified in this hypogammaglobulinaemic man, and was estimated to have persisted for up to 22 years. Despite demonstrable in-vitro neutralising activity of immunoglobulin and breast milk, and in-vitro antiviral activity of ribavirin, no treatment was successful at clearing the virus, although in one trial breast milk significantly reduced excretion levels temporarily. During the course of study, the virus developed reduced susceptibility to pleconaril, precluding the in-vivo use of this drug. Sequence analysis revealed the emergence of a methionine to leucine mutation adjacent to the likely binding site of pleconaril in these isolates. INTERPRETATION: Chronic vaccine-associated poliovirus infection in hypogammaglobulinaemia is a difficult condition to treat. It represents a risk to the strategy to discontinue polio vaccination once global eradication has been achieved.

Mastroeni P, Ugrinovic S, Chandra A, MacLennan C, Doffinger R, Kumararatne D. 2003. Resistance and susceptibility to Salmonella infections: Lessons from mice and patients with immunodeficiencies Reviews in Medical Microbiology, 14 (2), pp. 53-62. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella infect humans and animals world-wide causing a spectrum of diseases including enteric fever, gastroenteritis and septicaemia. A number of mechanisms of host resistance to salmonellosis have been identified in the mouse typhoid model. In mice, salmonellae usually reside inside phagocytes and dendritic cells localized within discrete pathological lesions surrounded by normal tissue. Bacterial growth in the tissues is controlled by NADPH oxidase-dependent and iNOS-dependent antimicrobial functions of resident and inflammatory phagocytes and is under the control of H-2 genes and the Nramp1 gene. The concerted action of a number of cytokines (TNFα, IFNγ, IL-12, IL-18, IL-15), the contribution of CD4 TCR-α/β T-cells, the presence of B-cells and antibodies are essential for host resistance to this bacterium. Observations on the increased incidence of Salmonella infections in immunocompromised patients have revealed some effector mechanisms that control these infections in humans. Deficiencies in components of the innate immune system including gastric secretion, neutrophil and macrophage functions predispose individuals to salmonellosis. A higher incidence of salmonellosis is seen also in patients with antibody deficiencies, defects in cell-mediated immunity and deficiencies in Th1 cytokines (IL-12, IFNγ) or cytokine receptors (IL-12R β1 subunit, IFNγR chains 1 and 2). © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Lammas DA, De Heer E, Edgar JD, Novelli V, Ben-Smith A, Baretto R, Drysdale P, Binch J, MacLennan C, Kumararatne DS et al. 2002. Heterogeneity in the granulomatous response to mycobacterial infection in patients with defined genetic mutations in the interleukin 12-dependent interferon-gamma production pathway. Int J Exp Pathol, 83 (1), pp. 1-20. | Show Abstract | Read more

Patients with genetic lesions in the Type-1 cytokine/cytokine receptor pathway exhibit a selective susceptibility to severe infections with poorly pathogenic mycobacteria and non-typhi salmonella spp. These experiments of nature demonstrate that IL-12-dependent IFNgamma production is critical for granuloma formation and therefore host immunity against such pathogens. The essential role of granuloma formation for protective immunity to these organisms is emphasized by the differing granuloma forming capabilities and resultant clinical sequelae observed in these patients which seems to reflect their ability to produce or respond to IFNgamma (Fig. 9). At one pole of this spectrum, represented by the complete IFNgammaR1/2 deficient patients, there is a complete absence of mature granuloma formation, whereas with the less severe mutations (i.e. partial IFNgammaR1/2, complete IL-12p40 and complete IL-12Rbeta1 deficiency), granuloma formation is very heterogenous with wide variations in composition being observed. This suggests that in the latter individuals, who produce partial but suboptimal IFNgamma responses, other influences, including pathogen virulence and host genotype may also affect the type and scale of the cellular response elicited.

Vincent A, Willcox N, Hill M, Curnow J, MacLennan C, Beeson D. 1998. Determinant spreading and immune responses to acetylcholine receptors in myasthenia gravis. Immunol Rev, 164 (1), pp. 157-168. | Show Abstract | Read more

In myasthenia gravis (MG), antibodies to the muscle acetylcholine receptor (AChR) cause muscle weakness. Experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) can be induced by immunisation against purified AChR; the main immunogenic region (MIR) is a conformation-dependent site that includes alpha 67-76. EAMG can also occur after immunisation against extracellular AChR sequences, but this probably involves intramolecular determinant spreading. In MG patients, thymic hyperplasia and germinal centres are found in about 50%, and thymoma in 10-15%. The heterogeneous, high affinity, IgG anti-AChR antibodies appear to be end-products of germinal centre responses, and react mainly with the MIR or a site on fetal AChR; the latter contains a gamma subunit and is mainly expressed on myoid cells in the thymic medulla. T cells cloned against recombinant AChR subunits recognise principally two naturally processed epitopes: epsilon 201-219 derived from adult AChR which is expressed in muscle, and sometimes in thymic epithelium, and alpha 146-160, common to fetal and adult AChR. Since AChR is not normally co-expressed with class II, it is unclear how CD4+ responses to AChR alpha and epsilon subunits are initiated, and how and where these spread to induce antibodies against fetal AChR. Various possibilities, including upregulation of class II on muscle/myoid cells and involvement of CD8+ responses to AChR and other muscle antigens, are discussed.

MacLennan CA, Beeson D, Willcox N, Vincent A, Newsom-Davis J. 1998. Muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor mRNA expression in hyperplastic and neoplastic myasthenia gravis thymus. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 841 (1 MYASTHENIA GR), pp. 407-410. | Read more

Vincent A, Jacobson L, Plested P, Polizzi A, Tang T, Riemersma S, Newland C, Ghorazian S, Farrar J, MacLennan C et al. 1998. Antibodies affecting ion channel function in acquired neuromyotonia, in seropositive and seronegative myasthenia gravis, and in antibody-mediated arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 841 (1 MYASTHENIA GR), pp. 482-496. | Show Abstract | Read more

A new autoimmune disease affecting the neuromuscular junction has been defined. Acquired neuromyotonia is associated with antibodies to voltage-gated potassium channels that act, at least in part, by reducing potassium channel function with resulting neuronal hyperactivity. This condition is quite frequently associated with thymoma and, in many cases, antibodies to acetylcholine receptors are present as well as antibodies to VGKC. Improvements in techniques and the availability of cloned DNA and recombinant forms of the AChR subunits have led to new observations concerning the specificity and roles of antibodies in myasthenia gravis. The transfection of a cell line with the epsilon subunit means that we can now accurately compare antibodies reactive with adult and fetal human AChR. This may help to determine the relationship between AChR subunit expression in different tissues and the induction of antibodies that bind specifically to the two forms, as well as to clarify the role of antibodies to fetal or adult AChR in causing ocular muscle symptoms. Serum antibodies from a few mothers with obstetric histories of recurrent arthrogryposis multiplex congenita in their babies specifically inhibit the function of fetal AChR. These observations not only explain the cause of some cases of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, but also suggest that other fetal-specific antibodies might be responsible for other fetal or neonatal conditions. An animal model has been established to enable us to investigate the role of maternal serum factors in causing such disorders. Seronegative MG has been the subject of many studies from our laboratory over the last ten years. The transience of the effects of SNMG plasmas on AChR function strongly suggests that the plasma antibodies do not bind directly to the AChR, but inhibit function by some indirect mechanism. They do not appear to act via the cAMP-dependent protein kinase pathway, and studies are in progress to investigate the involvement of other second messenger systems.

MacLennan C, Beeson D, Buijs AM, Vincent A, Newsom-Davis J. 1997. Acetylcholine receptor expression in human extraocular muscles and their susceptibility to myasthenia gravis. Ann Neurol, 41 (4), pp. 423-431. | Show Abstract | Read more

In myasthenia gravis (MG), extraocular muscle (EOM) weakness is often an initial and persisting symptom. It has been proposed that acetylcholine receptor (AChR) from EOM is antigenically different from AChR of other innervated muscles and that the presence of antibodies to fetal AChR expressed in EOM causes their weakness. We have (1) studied mRNA expression for each of the AChR subunits (alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and epsilon) in human muscle, including EOM, and (2) compared the binding of sera from ocular myasthenia gravis (OMG) patients with fetal (alpha2 beta gamma delta) and adult (alpha2 beta epsilon delta) human AChRs. RNase protection assays showed that expression of the AChR gamma-subunit (fetal-type) mRNA in EOM was comparable with that in other innervated muscle types. By contrast, epsilon-subunit (adult-type) mRNA was expressed at much higher levels in EOM than in other muscles studied. Moreover, some OMG sera bound specifically to adult AChR. These results do not support the contention that susceptibility of EOM in MG results from expression of fetal AChR and indicate that the inclusion of antigen from a source rich in adult AChR in the MG diagnostic assay will increase the yield of positive results in OMG patients.

Vincent A, Barrett-Jolley R, Shillito P, Hart I, Beeson D, MacLennan C, Nicolle M, Lang B, Roberts M, Willison H. 1994. Involvement of cation channels in autoimmune disease. Biochem Soc Trans, 22 (2), pp. 488-491. | Read more

MacLennan C, Beeson D, Vincent A, Newsom-Davis J. 1993. Human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor alpha-subunit isoforms: origins and expression. Nucleic Acids Res, 21 (23), pp. 5463-5467. | Show Abstract | Read more

A majority of the autoantibodies in the disease myasthenia gravis (MG) are directed against the alpha-subunit of the muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR). Unlike AChR alpha-subunits previously characterised from other species, the human alpha-subunit exists as two isoforms. The isoforms are generated by alternate splicing of an additional exon located between exons P3 and P4, termed P3A. The 25 amino acids encoded by the P3A exon are incorporated into the extracellular region of the alpha-subunit, and so may be relevant to the pathogenesis of MG. Genomic sequences from rhesus monkey, and from dog and cat, which are susceptible to MG, were characterised between AChR alpha-subunit exons P3 and P4. Although regions homologous to the P3A exon were identified for each of these species, analysis by RT-PCR showed that they are not expressed. At variance with a previous report, constitutive expression of mRNA encoding the human P3A+ alpha-subunit isoform was not detected in heart, kidney, liver, lung or brain. Differential expression of the two alpha-subunit isoforms was not seen during fetal muscle development or in muscle from MG patients. In all cases where mRNAs encoding the two alpha-subunit isoforms have been detected, they are present at an approximate 1:1 ratio.

MacLennan CA, Msefula CL, Gondwe EN, Gilchrist JJ, Pensulo P, Mandala WL, Mwimaniwa G, Banda M, Kenny J, Wilson LK et al. 2017. Presentation of life-threatening invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in Malawian children: A prospective observational study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 11 (12), pp. e0006027. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae commonly cause invasive disease in African children that is often fatal. The clinical diagnosis of these infections is hampered by the absence of a clear clinical syndrome. Drug resistance means that empirical antibiotic therapy is often ineffective and currently no vaccine is available. The study objective was to identify risk factors for mortality among children presenting to hospital with invasive Salmonella disease in Africa. We conducted a prospective study enrolling consecutive children with microbiologically-confirmed invasive Salmonella disease admitted to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, in 2006. Data on clinical presentation, co-morbidities and outcome were used to identify children at risk of inpatient mortality through logistic-regression modeling. Over one calendar year, 263 consecutive children presented with invasive Salmonella disease. Median age was 16 months (range 0-15 years) and 52/256 children (20%; 95%CI 15-25%) died. Nontyphoidal serovars caused 248/263 (94%) of cases. 211/259 (81%) of isolates were multi-drug resistant. 251/263 children presented with bacteremia, 6 with meningitis and 6 with both. Respiratory symptoms were present in 184/240 (77%; 95%CI 71-82%), 123/240 (51%; 95%CI 45-58%) had gastrointestinal symptoms and 101/240 (42%; 95%CI 36-49%) had an overlapping clinical syndrome. Presentation at <7 months (OR 10.0; 95%CI 2.8-35.1), dyspnea (OR 4.2; 95%CI 1.5-12.0) and HIV infection (OR 3.3; 95%CI 1.1-10.2) were independent risk factors for inpatient mortality. Invasive Salmonella disease in Malawi is characterized by high mortality and prevalence of multi-drug resistant isolates, along with non-specific presentation. Young infants, children with dyspnea and HIV-infected children bear a disproportionate burden of the Salmonella-associated mortality in Malawi. Strategies to improve prevention, diagnosis and management of invasive Salmonella disease should be targeted at these children.

Gilchrist JJ, MacLennan CA, Hill AVS. 2015. Genetic susceptibility to invasive Salmonella disease. Nat Rev Immunol, 15 (7), pp. 452-463. | Show Abstract | Read more

Invasive Salmonella disease, in the form of enteric fever and invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease, causes substantial morbidity and mortality in children and adults in the developing world. The study of genetic variations in humans and mice that influence susceptibility of the host to Salmonella infection provides important insights into immunity to Salmonella. In this Review, we discuss data that have helped to elucidate the host genetic determinants of human enteric fever and iNTS disease, alongside data from the mouse model of Salmonella infection. Considered together, these studies provide a detailed picture of the immunobiology of human invasive Salmonella disease.

Rondini S, Micoli F, Lanzilao L, Gavini M, Alfini R, Brandt C, Clare S, Mastroeni P, Saul A, MacLennan CA. 2015. Design of glycoconjugate vaccines against invasive African Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Infect Immun, 83 (3), pp. 996-1007. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal salmonellae, particularly Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, are a major cause of invasive disease in Africa, affecting mainly young children and HIV-infected individuals. Glycoconjugate vaccines provide a safe and reliable strategy against invasive polysaccharide-encapsulated pathogens, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a target of protective immune responses. With the aim of designing an effective vaccine against S. Typhimurium, we have synthesized different glycoconjugates, by linking O-antigen and core sugars (OAg) of LPS to the nontoxic mutant of diphtheria toxin (CRM(197)). The OAg-CRM(197) conjugates varied in (i) OAg source, with three S. Typhimurium strains used for OAg extraction, producing OAg with differences in structural specificities, (ii) OAg chain length, and (iii) OAg/CRM(197) ratio. All glycoconjugates were compared for immunogenicity and ability to induce serum bactericidal activity in mice. In vivo enhancement of bacterial clearance was assessed for a selected S. Typhimurium glycoconjugate by challenge with live Salmonella. We found that the largest anti-OAg antibody responses were elicited by (i) vaccines synthesized from OAg with the highest glucosylation levels, (ii) OAg composed of mixed- or medium-molecular-weight populations, and (iii) a lower OAg/CRM(197) ratio. In addition, we found that bactericidal activity can be influenced by S. Typhimurium OAg strain, most likely as a result of differences in OAg O-acetylation and glucosylation. Finally, we confirmed that mice immunized with the selected OAg-conjugate were protected against S. Typhimurium colonization of the spleen and liver. In conclusion, our findings indicate that differences in the design of OAg-based glycoconjugate vaccines against invasive African S. Typhimurium can have profound effects on immunogenicity and therefore optimal vaccine design requires careful consideration.

MacLennan CA, Saul A. 2014. Vaccines against poverty. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111 (34), pp. 12307-12312. | Show Abstract | Read more

With the 2010s declared the Decade of Vaccines, and Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 focused on reducing diseases that are potentially vaccine preventable, now is an exciting time for vaccines against poverty, that is, vaccines against diseases that disproportionately affect low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 has helped better understand which vaccines are most needed. In 2012, US$1.3 billion was spent on research and development for new vaccines for neglected infectious diseases. However, the majority of this went to three diseases: HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, and not neglected diseases. Much of it went to basic research rather than development, with an ongoing decline in funding for product development partnerships. Further investment in vaccines against diarrheal diseases, hepatitis C, and group A Streptococcus could lead to a major health impact in LMICs, along with vaccines to prevent sepsis, particularly among mothers and neonates. The Advanced Market Commitment strategy of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) Alliance is helping to implement vaccines against rotavirus and pneumococcus in LMICs, and the roll out of the MenAfriVac meningococcal A vaccine in the African Meningitis Belt represents a paradigm shift in vaccines against poverty: the development of a vaccine primarily targeted at LMICs. Global health vaccine institutes and increasing capacity of vaccine manufacturers in emerging economies are helping drive forward new vaccines for LMICs. Above all, partnership is needed between those developing and manufacturing LMIC vaccines and the scientists, health care professionals, and policy makers in LMICs where such vaccines will be implemented.

Koeberling O, Ispasanie E, Hauser J, Rossi O, Pluschke G, Caugant DA, Saul A, MacLennan CA. 2014. A broadly-protective vaccine against meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa based on generalized modules for membrane antigens (GMMA). Vaccine, 32 (23), pp. 2688-2695. | Show Abstract | Read more

INTRODUCTION: Neisseria meningitidis causes epidemics of meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa. These have mainly been caused by capsular group A strains, but W and X strains are increasingly contributing to the burden of disease. Therefore, an affordable vaccine that provides broad protection against meningococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa is required. METHODS: We prepared Generalized Modules for Membrane Antigens (GMMA) from a recombinant serogroup W strain expressing PorA P1.5,2, which is predominant among African W isolates. The strain was engineered with deleted capsule locus genes, lpxL1 and gna33 genes and over-expressed fHbp variant 1, which is expressed by the majority of serogroup A and X isolates. RESULTS: We screened nine W strains with deleted capsule locus and gna33 for high-level GMMA release. A mutant with five-fold increased GMMA release compared with the wild type was further engineered with a lpxL1 deletion and over-expression of fHbp. GMMA from the production strain had 50-fold lower ability to stimulate IL-6 release from human PBMC and caused 1000-fold lower TLR-4 activation in Human Embryonic Kidney cells than non-detoxified GMMA. In mice, the GMMA vaccine induced bactericidal antibody responses against African W strains expressing homologous PorA and fHbp v.1 or v.2 (geometric mean titres [GMT]=80,000-200,000), and invasive African A and X strains expressing a heterologous PorA and fHbp variant 1 (GMT=20-2500 and 18-5500, respectively). Sera from mice immunised with GMMA without over-expressed fHbp v.1 were unable to kill the A and X strains, indicating that bactericidal antibodies against these strains are directed against fHbp. CONCLUSION: A GMMA vaccine produced from a recombinant African N. meningitidis W strain with deleted capsule locus, lpxL1, gna33 and overexpressed fHbp v.1 has potential as an affordable vaccine with broad coverage against strains from all main serogroups currently causing meningococcal meningitis in sub-Saharan Africa.

Wells TJ, Whitters D, Sevastsyanovich YR, Heath JN, Pravin J, Goodall M, Browning DF, O'Shea MK, Cranston A, De Soyza A et al. 2014. Increased severity of respiratory infections associated with elevated anti-LPS IgG2 which inhibits serum bactericidal killing. J Exp Med, 211 (9), pp. 1893-1904. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although specific antibody induced by pathogens or vaccines is a key component of protection against infectious threats, some viruses, such as dengue, induce antibody that enhances the development of infection. In contrast, antibody-dependent enhancement of bacterial infection is largely unrecognized. Here, we demonstrate that in a significant portion of patients with bronchiectasis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection, antibody can protect the bacterium from complement-mediated killing. Strains that resist antibody-induced, complement-mediated killing produce lipopolysaccharide containing O-antigen. The inhibition of antibody-mediated killing is caused by excess production of O-antigen-specific IgG2 antibodies. Depletion of IgG2 to O-antigen restores the ability of sera to kill strains with long-chain O-antigen. Patients with impaired serum-mediated killing of P. aeruginosa by IgG2 have poorer respiratory function than infected patients who do not produce inhibitory antibody. We suggest that excessive binding of IgG2 to O-antigen shields the bacterium from other antibodies that can induce complement-mediated killing of bacteria. As there is significant sharing of O-antigen structure between different Gram-negative bacteria, this IgG2-mediated impairment of killing may operate in other Gram-negative infections. These findings have marked implications for our understanding of protection generated by natural infection and for the design of vaccines, which should avoid inducing such blocking antibodies.

Micoli F, Romano MR, Tontini M, Cappelletti E, Gavini M, Proietti D, Rondini S, Swennen E, Santini L, Filippini S et al. 2013. Development of a glycoconjugate vaccine to prevent meningitis in Africa caused by meningococcal serogroup X. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110 (47), pp. 19077-19082. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of bacterial meningitis worldwide, especially in the African meningitis belt, and has a high associated mortality. The meningococcal serogroups A, W, and X have been responsible for epidemics and almost all cases of meningococcal meningitis in the meningitis belt over the past 12 y. Currently no vaccine is available against meningococcal X (MenX). Because the development of a new vaccine through to licensure takes many years, this leaves Africa vulnerable to new epidemics of MenX meningitis at a time when the epidemiology of meningococcal meningitis on the continent is changing rapidly, following the recent introduction of a glycoconjugate vaccine against serogroup A. Here, we report the development of candidate glycoconjugate vaccines against MenX and preclinical data from their use in animal studies. Following optimization of growth conditions of our seed MenX strain for polysaccharide (PS) production, a scalable purification process was developed yielding high amounts of pure MenX PS. Different glycoconjugates were synthesized by coupling MenX oligosaccharides of varying chain length to CRM197 as carrier protein. Analytical methods were developed for in-process control and determination of purity and consistency of the vaccines. All conjugates induced high anti-MenX PS IgG titers in mice. Antibodies were strongly bactericidal against African MenX isolates. These findings support the further development of glycoconjugate vaccines against MenX and their assessment in clinical trials to produce a vaccine against the one cause of epidemic meningococcal meningitis that currently cannot be prevented by available vaccines.

MacLennan CA, Gilchrist JJ, Gordon MA, Cunningham AF, Cobbold M, Goodall M, Kingsley RA, van Oosterhout JJG, Msefula CL, Mandala WL et al. 2010. Dysregulated humoral immunity to nontyphoidal Salmonella in HIV-infected African adults. Science, 328 (5977), pp. 508-512. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal Salmonellae are a major cause of life-threatening bacteremia among HIV-infected individuals. Although cell-mediated immunity controls intracellular infection, antibodies protect against Salmonella bacteremia. We report that high-titer antibodies specific for Salmonella lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are associated with a lack of Salmonella-killing in HIV-infected African adults. Killing was restored by genetically shortening LPS from the target Salmonella or removing LPS-specific antibodies from serum. Complement-mediated killing of Salmonella by healthy serum is shown to be induced specifically by antibodies against outer membrane proteins. This killing is lost when excess antibody against Salmonella LPS is added. Thus, our study indicates that impaired immunity against nontyphoidal Salmonella bacteremia in HIV infection results from excess inhibitory antibodies against Salmonella LPS, whereas serum killing of Salmonella is induced by antibodies against outer membrane proteins.

Gondwe EN, Molyneux ME, Goodall M, Graham SM, Mastroeni P, Drayson MT, MacLennan CA. 2010. Importance of antibody and complement for oxidative burst and killing of invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella by blood cells in Africans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 107 (7), pp. 3070-3075. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacteremia caused by nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella is endemic among African children. Case-fatality rates are high and antibiotic resistance increasing, but no vaccine is currently available. T cells are important for clearance of Salmonella infection within macrophages, but in Africa, invasive Salmonella disease usually manifests in the blood and affects children between 4 months and 2 y of age, when anti-Salmonella antibody is absent. We have previously found a role for complement-fixing bactericidal antibody in protecting these children. Here we show that opsonic activity of antibody and complement is required for oxidative burst and killing of Salmonella by blood cells in Africans. Induction of neutrophil oxidative burst correlated with anti-Salmonella IgG and IgM titers and C3 deposition on bacteria and was significantly lower in African children younger than 2 y compared with older children. Preopsonizing Salmonella with immune serum overcame this deficit, indicating a requirement for antibody and/or complement. Using different opsonization procedures, both antibody and complement were found to be necessary for optimal oxidative burst, phagocytosis and killing of nontyphoidal Salmonella by peripheral blood cells in Africans. Although most strains of African nontyphoidal Salmonella can be killed with antibody and complement alone, phagocytes in the presence of specific antibody and complement can kill strains resistant to killing by immune serum. These findings increase the likelihood that an antibody-inducing vaccine will protect against invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella disease in African children.

Kingsley RA, Msefula CL, Thomson NR, Kariuki S, Holt KE, Gordon MA, Harris D, Clarke L, Whitehead S, Sangal V et al. 2009. Epidemic multiple drug resistant Salmonella Typhimurium causing invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa have a distinct genotype. Genome Res, 19 (12), pp. 2279-2287. | Show Abstract | Read more

Whereas most nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) are associated with gastroenteritis, there has been a dramatic increase in reports of NTS-associated invasive disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates are responsible for a significant proportion of the reported invasive NTS in this region. Multilocus sequence analysis of invasive S. Typhimurium from Malawi and Kenya identified a dominant type, designated ST313, which currently is rarely reported outside of Africa. Whole-genome sequencing of a multiple drug resistant (MDR) ST313 NTS isolate, D23580, identified a distinct prophage repertoire and a composite genetic element encoding MDR genes located on a virulence-associated plasmid. Further, there was evidence of genome degradation, including pseudogene formation and chromosomal deletions, when compared with other S. Typhimurium genome sequences. Some of this genome degradation involved genes previously implicated in virulence of S. Typhimurium or genes for which the orthologs in S. Typhi are either pseudogenes or are absent. Genome analysis of other epidemic ST313 isolates from Malawi and Kenya provided evidence for microevolution and clonal replacement in the field.

MacLennan CA, Gondwe EN, Msefula CL, Kingsley RA, Thomson NR, White SA, Goodall M, Pickard DJ, Graham SM, Dougan G et al. 2008. The neglected role of antibody in protection against bacteremia caused by nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella in African children. J Clin Invest, 118 (4), pp. 1553-1562. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nontyphoidal strains of Salmonella (NTS) are a common cause of bacteremia among African children. Cell-mediated immune responses control intracellular infection, but they do not protect against extracellular growth of NTS in the blood. We investigated whether antibody protects against NTS bacteremia in Malawian children, because we found this condition mainly occurs before 2 years of age, with relative sparing of infants younger than 4 months old. Sera from all healthy Malawian children tested aged more than 16 months contained anti-Salmonella antibody and successfully killed NTS. Killing was mediated by complement membrane attack complex and not augmented in the presence of blood leukocytes. Sera from most healthy children less than 16 months old lacked NTS-specific antibody, and sera lacking antibody did not kill NTS despite normal complement function. Addition of Salmonella-specific antibody, but not mannose-binding lectin, enabled NTS killing. All NTS strains tested had long-chain lipopolysaccharide and the rck gene, features that resist direct complement-mediated killing. Disruption of lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis enabled killing of NTS by serum lacking Salmonella-specific antibody. We conclude that Salmonella-specific antibody that overcomes the complement resistance of NTS develops by 2 years of life in Malawian children. This finding and the age-incidence of NTS bacteremia suggest that antibody protects against NTS bacteremia and support the development of vaccines against NTS that induce protective antibody.

MacLennan CA, Liu MKP, White SA, van Oosterhout JJG, Simukonda F, Bwanali J, Moore MJ, Zijlstra EE, Drayson MT, Molyneux ME. 2007. Diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a simplified low cost method of counting CD4 cells with flow cytometry in Malawi: diagnostic accuracy study. BMJ, 335 (7612), pp. 190. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To assess the diagnostic accuracy and clinical utility of a simplified low cost method for measuring absolute and percentage CD4 counts with flow cytometry. DESIGN: A CD4 counting method (Blantyre count) using a CD4 and CD45 antibody combination with reduced blood and reagent volumes. Diagnostic accuracy was assessed by measuring agreement of the index test with two other assays (TruCount and FACSCount). Clinical utility was investigated by comparing CD4 counts with the new assay with WHO clinical staging in patients with HIV. SETTING: Research laboratories and antiretroviral therapy clinic at a medical school and large government hospital in southern Malawi. PARTICIPANTS: Assay comparisons were performed on consecutive blood samples sent for CD4 counting from 129 patients with HIV. Comparison of CD4 count with staging was conducted on 253 consecutive new patients attending the antiretroviral therapy clinic. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Limits of agreement with 95% confidence intervals between index test and reference standards. RESULTS: The limits of agreement for Blantyre count and TruCount were excellent (cell count -48.9 to 27.0 x10(9)/l for absolute counts in the CD4 range <400x10(9)/l and -2.42% to 2.37% for CD4 percentage). The assay was affordable with reagent costs per test of $0.44 ( pound0.22, euro0.33) for both absolute count and CD4 percentage, and $0.11 for CD4 percentage alone. Of 193 patients with clinical stage I or II disease, who were ineligible for antiretroviral therapy by clinical staging criteria, 73 (38%) had CD4 counts <200x10(9)/l. By contrast, 12 (20%) of 60 patients with stage III or IV disease had CD4 counts >350x10(9)/l. CONCLUSIONS: This simplified method of counting CD4 cells with flow cytometry has good agreement with established commercial assays, is affordable for routine clinical use in Africa, and could improve clinical decision making in patients with HIV.

MacLennan C, Dunn G, Huissoon AP, Kumararatne DS, Martin J, O'Leary P, Thompson RA, Osman H, Wood P, Minor P et al. 2004. Failure to clear persistent vaccine-derived neurovirulent poliovirus infection in an immunodeficient man. Lancet, 363 (9420), pp. 1509-1513. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Individuals who chronically excrete neurovirulent poliovirus of vaccine-origin are of considerable concern to the Global Polio Eradication programme. Chronic infection with such polioviruses is a recognised complication of hypogammaglobulinaemia. METHODS: We did a series of in-vitro and in-vivo therapeutic studies, with a view to clearing persistent neurovirulent poliovirus infection in an individual with common variable immunodeficiency, using oral immunoglobulin, breast milk (as a source of secretory IgA), ribavirin, and the anti-picornaviral agent pleconaril. We undertook viral quantitation, antibody neutralisation and drug susceptibility assays, and viral gene sequencing. FINDINGS: Long-term asymptomatic excretion of vaccine-derived neurovirulent poliovirus 2 was identified in this hypogammaglobulinaemic man, and was estimated to have persisted for up to 22 years. Despite demonstrable in-vitro neutralising activity of immunoglobulin and breast milk, and in-vitro antiviral activity of ribavirin, no treatment was successful at clearing the virus, although in one trial breast milk significantly reduced excretion levels temporarily. During the course of study, the virus developed reduced susceptibility to pleconaril, precluding the in-vivo use of this drug. Sequence analysis revealed the emergence of a methionine to leucine mutation adjacent to the likely binding site of pleconaril in these isolates. INTERPRETATION: Chronic vaccine-associated poliovirus infection in hypogammaglobulinaemia is a difficult condition to treat. It represents a risk to the strategy to discontinue polio vaccination once global eradication has been achieved.

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