Proteins on the surface of GBS bacteria: Their role in causing disease and a potential hybrid vaccine component

Prevention; Lund University, Sweden.

Scientific version
  • Researchers:
    Professor Gunnar Lindahl
  • Start Date:
    01 January 2002
  • Category:
  • Location:
    Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Group B streptococcal (GBS) bacteria are the most common cause of meningitis and septicaemia in newborn babies, however as yet there is no vaccine to protect against this form of the disease.

Researchers in Sweden are studying two proteins, found on the surface of bacteria that cause GBS meningitis. Virtually all strains of GBS bacteria carry at least one of these proteins. The aim of this study is to find out how these proteins are involved in GBS meningitis and septicaemia and then to combine the proteins to create a hybrid vaccine and evaluate it in the laboratory.

In a separate study the researchers are analysing blood samples from children with GBS disease and from their mothers, to try and identify a risk group that are more susceptible to GBS meningitis and septicaemia. The identification of such a risk group might allow prevention of GBS disease.

Results from this study have been published in scientific journals as follows:

Larsson C, Holmgren J, Lindahl G, Bergquist C.
Intranasal immunization of mice with group B streptococcal protein rib and cholera toxin B subunit confers protection against lethal infection.
Infect Immun 2004 Feb;72(2):1184-7.

Lindahl G, Stalhammar-Carlemalm M, Areschoug T.
Surface proteins of Streptococcus agalactiae and related proteins in other bacterial pathogens.
Clin Microbiol Rev 2005 Jan;18(1):102-27.

Waldemarsson J, Areschoug T, Lindahl G, Johnsson E,
The streptococcal Blr and Slr proteins define a family of surface proteins with leucine-rich repeats: camouflaging by other surface structures.
J Bacteriol 2006 Jan;188(2):378-88.

Larsson C, Lindroth M, Nordin P, Stalhammar-Carlemalm M, Lindahl G, Krantz I.
Association between low concentrations of antibodies to protein alpha and Rib and invasive neonatal group B streptococcal infection.
Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2006 Nov;91(6):F403-8.