The following is a summary of “Antigen Discovery for Next-Generation Pertussis Vaccines Using Immunoproteomics and Transposon-Directed Insertion Sequencing,” published in the February 2023 issue of Infectious Diseases by Gregg, et al.

The acellular pertussis vaccine has caused a resurgence in reported cases of pertussis in the United States, and improved vaccines are needed to enhance infection control. For a study, researchers sought to identify immunogenic Bordetella pertussis antigens that are essential for persistence in the baboon airway and membrane-localized to be used in future vaccines. 

The team used immunoproteomics to identify antigens recognized by convalescent-baboon serum and nasopharyngeal wash and predicted their subcellular localization. They also identified genes essential for persistence in the baboon airway using transposon-directed insertion-site sequencing (TraDIS) analysis.

The results showed that 314 B. pertussis antigens were identified by convalescent baboon serum, and 748 were identified by nasopharyngeal wash. Thirteen antigens were found to be both immunogenic in baboons, essential for persistence in the airway by TraDIS, and membrane-localized. These 13 antigens were BP0840 (OmpP), Pal, OmpA2, BP1485, BamA, Pcp, MlaA, YfgL, BP2197, BP1569, MlaD, ComL, and BP0183.

The identified antigens were potential candidates for inclusion in future vaccines designed to reduce or prevent the carriage of the bacteria in the airway of vaccinated individuals. The study provided insights into the development of improved vaccines for pertussis control.