Novel strategy to protect against influenza virus-induced pneumococcal disease without interfering with commensal colonization

Christopher J. Greene, Laura R. Marks, John C. Hu, Ryan Reddinger, Lorrie Mandell, Hazeline Roche-Hakansson, Natalie D. King-Lyons, Terry D. Connell, Anders P. Hakanssona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Streptococcus pneumoniae commonly inhabits the nasopharynx as a member of the commensal biofilm. Infection with respiratory viruses, such as influenza A virus, induces commensal S. pneumoniae to disseminate beyond the nasopharynx and to elicit severe infections of the middle ears, lungs, and blood that are associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Current preventive strategies, including the polysaccharide conjugate vaccines, aim to eliminate asymptomatic carriage with vaccinetype pneumococci. However, this has resulted in serotype replacement with, so far, less fit pneumococcal strains, which has changed the nasopharyngeal flora, opening the niche for entry of other virulent pathogens (e.g., Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and potentially Haemophilus influenzae). The long-term effects of these changes are unknown. Here, we present an attractive, alternative preventive approach where we subvert virus-induced pneumococcal disease without interfering with commensal colonization, thus specifically targeting disease-causing organisms. In that regard, pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA), a major surface protein of pneumococci, is a promising vaccine target. Intradermal (i.d.) immunization of mice with recombinant PspA in combination with LT-IIb(T13I), a novel i.d. adjuvant of the type II heat-labile enterotoxin family, elicited strong systemic PspA-specific IgG responses without inducing mucosal anti-PspA IgA responses. This response protected mice from otitis media, pneumonia, and septicemia and averted the cytokine storm associated with septic infection but had no effect on asymptomatic colonization. Our results firmly demonstrated that this immunization strategy against virally induced pneumococcal disease can be conferred without disturbing the desirable preexisting commensal colonization of the nasopharynx.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1703
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Novel strategy to protect against influenza virus-induced pneumococcal disease without interfering with commensal colonization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this