Streptococcus mutans is a major etiologic agent of dental caries, a prevalent worldwide infectious disease and a serious public health concern. The surface-localized S. mutans P1 adhesin contributes to tooth colonization and caries formation. P1 is a large (185-kDa) and complex multidomain protein considered a promising target antigen for anticaries vaccines. Previous observations showed that a recombinant P1 fragment (P139-512), produced in Bacillus subtilis and encompassing a functional domain, induces antibodies that recognize the native protein and interfere with S. mutans adhesion in vitro. In the present study, we further investigated the immunological features of P139-512 in combination with the following different adjuvants after parenteral administration to mice: alum, a derivative of the heat-labile toxin (LT), and the phase 1 flagellin of S. Typhimurium LT2 (FliCi). Our results demonstrated that recombinant P139-512 preserves relevant conformational epitopes as well as salivary agglutinin (SAG)-binding activity. Coadministration of adjuvants enhanced anti-P1 serum antibody responses and affected both epitope specificity and immunoglobulin subclass switching. Importantly, P139-512-specific antibodies raised in mice immunized with adjuvants showed significantly increased inhibition of S. mutans adhesion to SAG, with less of an effect on SAG-mediated bacterial aggregation, an innate defense mechanism. Oral colonization of mice by S. mutans was impaired in the presence of anti- P139-512 antibodies, particularly those raised in combination with adjuvants. In conclusion, our results confirm the utility of P139-512 as a potential candidate for the development of anticaries vaccines and as a tool for functional studies of S. mutans P1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases