Infection and immunity 2017 11 1785(12) pii 10.1128/IAI.00549-17
Staphylococcus aureus has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and vaccines offer a potential solution to this epidemic of antimicrobial resistance. Targeting of specific T cell subsets is now considered crucial for next-generation anti-S. aureus vaccines; however, there is a paucity of information regarding T cell antigens of S. aureus This study highlights the importance of cell wall-anchored proteins as human CD4+ T cell activators capable of driving antigen-specific Th1 and Th17 cell activation. Clumping factor A (ClfA), which contains N1, N2, and N3 binding domains, was found to be a potent human T cell activator. We further investigated which subdomains of ClfA were involved in T cell activation and found that the full-length ClfA N123 and N23 were potent Th1 and Th17 activators. Interestingly, the N1 subdomain was capable of exclusively activating Th1 cells. Furthermore, when these subdomains were used in a model vaccine, N23 and N1 offered Th1- and Th17-mediated systemic protection in mice upon intraperitoneal challenge. Overall, however, full-length ClfA N123 is required for maximal protection both locally and systemically.