The identification of novel immunogenic antigens as potential Shigella vaccine components.
de Alwis R., Liang L., Taghavian O., Werner E., The HC., Thu TNH., Duong VT., Davies DH., Felgner PL., Baker S.
<h4>Background</h4>Shigella is a major diarrheal pathogen for which there is presently no vaccine. Whole genome sequencing provides the ability to predict and derive novel antigens for use as vaccines. Here, we aimed to identify novel immunogenic Shigella antigens that could serve as Shigella vaccine candidates, either alone, or when conjugated to Shigella O-antigen.<h4>Methods</h4>Using a reverse vaccinology approach, where genomic analysis informed the Shigella immunome via an antigen microarray, we aimed to identify novel immunogenic Shigella antigens. A core genome analysis of Shigella species, pathogenic and non-pathogenic Escherichia coli, led to the selection of 234 predicted immunogenic Shigella antigens. These antigens were expressed and probed with acute and convalescent serum from microbiologically confirmed Shigella infections.<h4>Results</h4>Several Shigella antigens displayed IgG and IgA seroconversion, with no difference in sero-reactivity across by sex or age. IgG sero-reactivity to key Shigella antigens was observed at birth, indicating transplacental antibody transfer. Six antigens (FepA, EmrK, FhuA, MdtA, NlpB, and CjrA) were identified in in vivo testing as capable of producing binding IgG and complement-mediated bactericidal antibody.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These findings provide six novel immunogenic Shigella proteins that could serve as candidate vaccine antigens, species-specific carrier proteins, or targeted adjuvants.