Relative stability of meningococcal serogroup A and X polysaccharides.
Berti F., Romano MR., Micoli F., Pinto V., Cappelletti E., Gavini M., Proietti D., Pluschke G., MacLennan CA., Costantino P.
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.