The Network aims to promote multi-disciplinary approaches to address challenging vaccine-related questions. This page contains a curated list of publications that highlight high-impact and collaborative approaches.

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  • Journal article
    White MT, Verity R, Griffin JT, Asante KP, Owusu-Agyei S, Greenwood B, Drakeley C, Gesase S, Lusingu J, Ansong D, Adjei S, Agbenyega T, Ogutu B, Otieno L, Otieno W, Agnandji ST, Lell B, Kremsner P, Hoffman I, Martinson F, Kamthunzu P, Tinto H, Valea I, Sorgho H, Oneko M, Otieno K, Hamel MJ, Salim N, Mtoro A, Abdulla S, Aide P, Sacarlal J, Aponte JJ, Njuguna P, Marsh K, Bejon P, Riley EM, Ghani ACet al., 2015,

    Immunogenicity of the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine and implications for duration of vaccine efficacy: secondary analysis of data from a phase 3 randomised controlled trial

    , Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol: 15, Pages: 1450-1458, ISSN: 1473-3099

    BackgroundThe RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine targets the circumsporozoite protein, inducing antibodies associated with the prevention of Plasmodium falciparum infection. We assessed the association between anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres and the magnitude and duration of vaccine efficacy using data from a phase 3 trial done between 2009 and 2014.MethodsUsing data from 8922 African children aged 5–17 months and 6537 African infants aged 6–12 weeks at first vaccination, we analysed the determinants of immunogenicity after RTS,S/AS01 vaccination with or without a booster dose. We assessed the association between the incidence of clinical malaria and anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres using a model of anti-circumsporozoite antibody dynamics and the natural acquisition of protective immunity over time.FindingsRTS,S/AS01-induced anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres were greater in children aged 5–17 months than in those aged 6–12 weeks. Pre-vaccination anti-circumsporozoite titres were associated with lower immunogenicity in children aged 6–12 weeks and higher immunogenicity in those aged 5–17 months. The immunogenicity of the booster dose was strongly associated with immunogenicity after primary vaccination. Anti-circumsporozoite titres wane according to a biphasic exponential distribution. In participants aged 5–17 months, the half-life of the short-lived component of the antibody response was 45 days (95% credible interval 42–48) and that of the long-lived component was 591 days (557–632). After primary vaccination 12% (11–13) of the response was estimated to be long-lived, rising to 30% (28–32%) after a booster dose. An anti-circumsporozoite antibody titre of 121 EU/mL (98–153) was estimated to prevent 50% of infections. Waning anti-circumsporozoite antibody titres predict the duration of efficacy against clinical malaria across different age categories and transmission intensities, and effi

  • Journal article
    So EC, Mattheis C, Tate EW, Frankel G, Schroeder GNet al., 2015,

    Creating a customized intracellular niche: subversion of host cell signaling by Legionella type IV secretion system effectors

    , Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Vol: 61, Pages: 617-635, ISSN: 1480-3275

    The Gram-negative facultative intracellular pathogen Legionella pneumophila infects a wide range of different protozoa in the environment and also human alveolar macrophages upon inhalation of contaminated aerosols. Inside its hosts, it creates a defined and unique compartment, termed the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV), for survival and replication. To establish the LCV, L. pneumophila uses its Dot/Icm type IV secretion system (T4SS) to translocate more than 300 effector proteins into the host cell. Although it has become apparent in the past years that these effectors subvert a multitude of cellular processes and allow Legionella to take control of host cell vesicle trafficking, transcription, and translation, the exact function of the vast majority of effectors still remains unknown. This is partly due to high functional redundancy among the effectors, which renders conventional genetic approaches to elucidate their role ineffective. Here, we review the current knowledge about Legionella T4SS effectors, highlight open questions, and discuss new methods that promise to facilitate the characterization of T4SS effector functions in the future.

  • Journal article
    Williams KJ, Jenkins VA, Barton GR, Bryant WA, Krishnan N, Robertson BDet al., 2015,

    Deciphering the metabolic response of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to nitrogen stress.

    , Molecular Microbiology, Vol: 97, Pages: 1142-1157, ISSN: 1365-2958

    A key component to the success of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a pathogen is the ability to sense and adapt metabolically to the diverse range of conditions encountered in vivo, such as oxygen tension, environmental pH and nutrient availability. Although nitrogen is an essential nutrient for every organism, little is known about the genes and pathways responsible for nitrogen assimilation in M. tuberculosis. In this study we have used transcriptomics and ChIP-seq to address this. In response to nitrogen starvation a total of 185 genes were significantly differentially expressed (96 up-regulated and 89 down regulated; 5% genome) highlighting several significant areas of metabolic change during nitrogen limitation such as nitrate/nitrite metabolism, aspartate metabolism and changes in cell wall biosynthesis. We identify GlnR as a regulator involved in the nitrogen response, controlling the expression of at least 33 genes in response to nitrogen limitation. We identify a consensus GlnR binding site and relate its location to known transcriptional start sites. We also show that the GlnR response regulator plays a very different role in M. tuberculosis to that in non-pathogenic mycobacteria, controlling genes involved in nitric oxide detoxification and intracellular survival instead of genes involved in nitrogen scavenging.

  • Journal article
    Frankel GM, Habibzay M, Crepin-Sevenou V, Glegola-Madejska I, Guenot M, Collins Jet al., 2015,

    Tir-induced actin remodeling triggers expression of CXCL1 in enterocytes and neutrophil recruitment during Citrobacter rodentium infection

    , Infection and Immunity, Vol: 83, Pages: 3342-3354, ISSN: 1098-5522

    The hallmarks of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) infection are formation of attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions on mucosal surfaces and actin-rich pedestals on cultured cells, both dependent on the type III secretion system effector Tir. Following translocation into cultured cells and clustering by intimin, Tir Y474 is phosphorylated leading to recruitment of Nck, activation of N-WASP and actin polymerization via the Arp2/3 complex. A secondary, weak, actin polymerization pathway is triggered via an NPY motif (Y454). Importantly, Y454 and Y474 play no role in A/E lesion formation on mucosal surfaces following infection with the EPEC-like mouse pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. In this study we investigated the roles of Tir segments located upstream of Y451 and downstream of Y471 in C. rodentium colonization and A/E lesion formation. We also tested the role Tir residues Y451 and Y471 play in host immune responses to C. rodentium infection. We found that deletion of amino acids 382-462 or 478-547 had no impact on the ability of Tir to mediate A/E lesion formation, although deletion of amino acids 478-547 affected Tir translocation. Examination of enterocytes isolated from infected mice revealed that a C. rodentium expressing Tir_Y451A/Y471A recruited significantly less neutrophils to the colon and triggered less colonic hyperplasia on day 14 post infection, compared to infection with the wild type strain. Consistently, enterocytes isolated from mice infected with C. rodentium expressing Tir_Y451A/Y471A expressed significantly less CXCL1. These result show that Tir-induced actin remodeling plays a direct role in modulation of immune responses to C. rodentium infection.

  • Journal article
    Messens W, Bolton D, Frankel G, Liebana E, McLauchlin J, Morabito S, Oswald E, Threlfall EJet al., 2015,

    Defining pathogenic verocytotoxin-producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) from cases of human infection in the European Union, 2007-2010

    , EPIDEMIOLOGY AND INFECTION, Vol: 143, Pages: 1652-1661, ISSN: 0950-2688
  • Journal article
    Hunter PJ, Shaw RK, Berger CN, Frankel G, Pink D, Hand Pet al., 2015,

    Older leaves of lettuce (Lactuca spp.) support higher levels of Salmonella enterica ser. Senftenberg attachment and show greater variation between plant accessions than do younger leaves

    , FEMS Microbiology Letters, Vol: 362, ISSN: 0378-1097

    Salmonella can bind to the leaves of salad crops including lettuce and survive for commercially relevant periods. Previous studies have shown that younger leaves are more susceptible to colonization than older leaves and that colonization levels are dependent on both the bacterial serovar and the lettuce cultivar. In this study, we investigated the ability of two Lactuca sativa cultivars (Saladin and Iceberg) and an accession of wild lettuce (L. serriola) to support attachment of Salmonella enterica serovar Senftenberg, to the first and fifth to sixth true leaves and the associations between cultivar-dependent variation in plant leaf surface characteristics and bacterial attachment. Attachment levels were higher on older leaves than on the younger ones and these differences were associated with leaf vein and stomatal densities, leaf surface hydrophobicity and leaf surface soluble protein concentrations. Vein density and leaf surface hydrophobicity were also associated with cultivar-specific differences in Salmonella attachment, although the latter was only observed in the older leaves and was also associated with level of epicuticular wax.

  • Journal article
    Habibi MS, Jozwik A, Makris S, Dunning J, Paras A, DeVincenzo JP, de Haan CA, Wrammert J, Openshaw PJ, Chiu C, The MOSAIC Investigatorset al., 2015,

    Impaired antibody-mediated protection and defective IgA B cell memory in experimental infection of adults with respiratory syncytial virus

    , American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Vol: 191, ISSN: 1535-4970

    Rationale: Despite relative antigenic stability, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) re-infects throughout life. After >40 years of research, no effective human vaccine exists and correlates of protection remain poorly defined. Most current vaccine candidates seek to induce high levels of RSV-specific serum neutralizing antibodies, which are associated with reduced RSV-related hospitalization rates in observational studies but may not actually prevent infection. Objectives: Characterize correlates of protection from infection and the generation of RSV-specific humoral memory to promote effective vaccine development. Methods: We inoculated 61 healthy adults with live RSV and studied protection from infection by serum and mucosal antibody. We analyzed RSV-specific peripheral blood plasmablast and memory B cell frequencies and antibody longevity. Measurements and Main Results: Despite moderately high levels of pre-existing serum antibody, 34 (56%) became infected, of whom 23 (68%) developed symptomatic colds. Prior RSV-specific nasal IgA correlated significantly more strongly with protection from PCR-confirmed infection than serum neutralizing antibody. Increases in virus-specific antibody titers were variable and transient in infected subjects, but correlated with plasmablasts that peaked around day 10. During convalescence, only IgG (and no IgA) RSV-specific memory B cells were detectable in peripheral blood. This contrasted with natural influenza infection, where virus-specific IgA memory B cells were readily recovered. Conclusions: This observed specific defect in IgA memory may partly explain RSV's ability to cause recurrent symptomatic infections. If so, vaccines able to induce durable RSV-specific IgA responses may be more protective than those generating systemic antibody alone.

  • Journal article
    Schreiber F, Kay S, Frankel G, Clare S, Goulding D, van de Vosse E, van Dissel JT, Strugnell R, Thwaites G, Kingsley RA, Dougan G, Baker Set al., 2015,

    The Hd, Hj, and Hz66 flagella variants of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi modify host responses and cellular interactions

    , SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2045-2322
  • Journal article
    Chiu C, Openshaw PJ, 2015,

    Antiviral B cell and T cell immunity in the lungs

    , NATURE IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 16, Pages: 18-26, ISSN: 1529-2908
  • Journal article
    White MT, Bejon P, Olotu A, Griffin JT, Bojang K, Lusingu J, Salim N, Abdulla S, Otsyula N, Agnandji ST, Lell B, Asante KP, Owusu-Agyei S, Mahama E, Agbenyega T, Ansong D, Sacarlal J, Aponte JJ, Ghani ACet al., 2014,

    A combined analysis of immunogenicity, antibody kinetics and vaccine efficacy from phase 2 trials of the RTS,S malaria vaccine

    , BMC Medicine, Vol: 12, ISSN: 1741-7015

    Background: The RTS,S malaria vaccine is currently undergoing phase 3 trials. High vaccine-induced antibody titresto the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) antigen have been associated with protection from infection and episodes ofclinical malaria.Methods: Using data from 5,144 participants in nine phase 2 trials, we explore predictors of vaccine immunogenicity(anti-CSP antibody titres), decay in antibody titres, and the association between antibody titres and clinical outcomes.We use empirically-observed relationships between these factors to predict vaccine efficacy in a range of scenarios.Results: Vaccine-induced anti-CSP antibody titres were significantly associated with age (P = 0.04), adjuvant (P <0.001),pre-vaccination anti-hepatitis B surface antigen titres (P = 0.005) and pre-vaccination anti-CSP titres (P <0.001).Co-administration with other vaccines reduced anti-CSP antibody titres although not significantly (P = 0.095).Antibody titres showed a bi-phasic decay over time with an initial rapid decay in the first three months and asecond slower decay over the next three to four years. Antibody titres were significantly associated with protection,with a titre of 51 (95% Credible Interval (CrI): 29 to 85) ELISA units/ml (EU/mL) predicted to prevent 50% of infections inchildren. Vaccine efficacy was predicted to decline to zero over four years in a setting with entomological inoculationrate (EIR) = 20 infectious bites per year (ibpy). Over a five-year follow-up period at an EIR = 20 ibpy, we predict RTS,S willavert 1,782 cases per 1,000 vaccinated children, 1,452 cases per 1,000 vaccinated infants, and 887 cases per 1,000 infantswhen co-administered with expanded programme on immunisation (EPI) vaccines. Our main study limitations includean absence of vaccine-induced cellular immune responses and short duration of follow-up in some individuals.Conclusions: Vaccine-induced anti-CSP antibody titres and transmission intensity can explain variations in observedva

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