Immunization with Pneumocystis Cross-Reactive Antigen 1 (Pca1) Protects Mice against Pneumocystis Pneumonia and Generates Antibody to Pneumocystis jirovecii
Tesini, B.L.; Wright, T.W.; Malone, J.E.; Haidaris, C.G.; Harber, M.; Sant, A.J.; Nayak, J.L.; Gigliotti, F.
Infection and Immunity 85(4)
ISSN/ISBN: 1098-5522 PMID: 28031260 DOI: 10.1128/iai.00850-16
Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP) is a life-threatening infection that affects immunocompromised individuals. Nearly half of all PcP cases occur in those prescribed effective chemoprophylaxis, suggesting that additional preventive methods are needed. To this end, we have identified a unique mouse Pneumocystis surface protein, designated Pneumocystis cross-reactive antigen 1 (Pca1), as a potential vaccine candidate. Mice were immunized with a recombinant fusion protein containing Pca1. Subsequently, CD4+ T cells were depleted, and the mice were exposed to Pneumocystis murina Pca1 immunization completely protected nearly all mice, similar to immunization with whole Pneumocystis organisms. In contrast, all immunized negative-control mice developed PcP. Unexpectedly, Pca1 immunization generated cross-reactive antibody that recognized Pneumocystis jirovecii and Pneumocystis carinii Potential orthologs of Pca1 have been identified in P. jirovecii Such cross-reactivity is rare, and our findings suggest that Pca1 is a conserved antigen and potential vaccine target. The evaluation of Pca1-elicited antibodies in the prevention of PcP in humans deserves further investigation.