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Subdominant Antigens in Bacterial Vaccines: AM779 Is Subdominant in the Anaplasma marginale Outer Membrane Vaccine but Does Not Associate with Protective Immunity

Saleh M. Albarrak, Wendy C. Brown, Susan M. Noh, Kathryn E. Reif, Glen A. Scoles, Joshua E. Turse, Junzo Norimine, Massaro W. Ueti, Guy H. Palmer, Ulrike Gertrud Munderloh
PLoS ONE 2012 v.7 no.9 pp. -
Anaplasma marginale, T-lymphocytes, antibodies, bacteremia, bacterial antigens, cell-mediated immunity, disease prevention, humoral immunity, immune response, models, outer membrane proteins, pathogens, vaccination, vaccine development
Identification of specific antigens responsible for the ability of complex immunogens to induce protection is a major goal in development of bacterial vaccines. Much of the investigation has focused on highly abundant and highly immunodominant outer membrane proteins. Recently however, genomic and proteomic approaches have facilitated identification of minor components of the bacterial outer membrane that have previously been missed or ignored in immunological analyses. Immunization with Anaplasma marginale outer membranes or a cross-linked surface complex induces protection against bacteremia, however the components responsible for protection within these complex immunogens are unknown. Using outer membrane protein AM779 as a model, we demonstrated that this highly conserved but minor component of the A. marginale surface was immunologically sub-dominant in the context of the outer membrane or surface complex vaccines. Immunologic sub-dominance could be overcome by targeted vaccination with AM779 for T lymphocyte responses but not for antibody responses, suggesting that both abundance and intrinsic immunogenicity determine relative dominance. Importantly, immunization with AM779 supports that once priming is achieved by specific targeting, recall upon infectious challenge is achieved. While immunization with AM779 alone was not sufficient to induce protection, the ability of targeted immunization to prime the immune response to highly conserved but low abundance proteins supports continued investigation into the role of sub-dominant antigens, individually and collectively, in vaccine development for A. marginale and related bacterial pathogens.