Although the prevalence of Bordetella parapertussis varies dramatically among studies in different populations with different vaccination regimens, there is broad agreement that whooping cough vaccines, composed only of B. pertussis antigens, provide little if any protection against B. parapertussis. In C57BL/6 mice, a B. pertussis whole-cell vaccine (wP) provided modest protection against B. parapertussis, which was dependent on IFN-γ. The wP was much more protective against an isogenic B. parapertussis strain lacking O-antigen than its wild-type counterpart. O-antigen inhibited binding of wP-induced antibodies to B. parapertussis, as well as antibody-mediated opsonophagocytosis in vitro and clearance in vivo. aP-induced antibodies also bound better in vitro to the O-antigen mutant than to wild-type B. parapertussis, but aP failed to confer protection against wild-type or O antigen-deficient B. parapertussis in mice. Interestingly, B. parapertussis-specific antibodies provided in addition to either wP or aP were sufficient to very rapidly reduce B. parapertussis numbers in mouse lungs. This study identifies a mechanism by which one pathogen escapes immunity induced by vaccination against a closely related pathogen and may explain why B. parapertussis prevalence varies substantially between populations with different vaccination strategies.
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