Streptococcus agalactiae (group B Streptococcus) is the major cause of invasive bacterial disease, including meningitis, in the neonatal period. Although prophylactic measures have contributed to a substantial reduction in the number of infections, development of a vaccine remains an important goal. While much work in this field has focused on the S. agalactiae polysaccharide capsule, which is an important virulence factor that elicits protective immunity, surface proteins have received increasing attention as potential virulence factors and vaccine components. Here, we summarize current knowledge about S. agalactiae surface proteins, with emphasis on proteins that have been characterized immunochemically and/or elicit protective immunity in animal models. These surface proteins have been implicated in interactions with human epithelial cells, binding to extracellular matrix components, and/or evasion of host immunity. Of note, several S. agalactiae surface proteins are related to surface proteins identified in other bacterial pathogens, emphasizing the general interest of the S. agalactiae proteins. Because some S. agalactiae surface proteins elicit protective immunity, they hold promise as components in a vaccine based only on proteins or as carriers in polysaccharide conjugate vaccines.
- Mikrobiologi inom det medicinska området