METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: With the availability of the B. pseudomallei whole genome sequence, we undertook to identify genes encoding the known immunogenic outer membrane protein A (OmpA). Twelve OmpA domains were identified and ORFs containing these domains were fully annotated. Of the 12 ORFs, two of these OmpAs, Omp3 and Omp7, were successfully cloned, expressed as soluble protein and purified. Both proteins were recognised by antibodies in melioidosis patients' sera by Western blot analysis. Purified soluble fractions of Omp3 and Omp7 were assessed for their ability to protect BALB/c mice against B. pseudomallei infection. Mice were immunised with either Omp3 or Omp7, subsequently challenged with 1x10(6) colony forming units (cfu) of B. pseudomallei via the intraperitoneal route, and examined daily for 21 days post-challenge. This pilot study has demonstrated that whilst all control unimmunised mice died by day 9 post-challenge, two mice (out of 4) from both immunised groups survived beyond 21 days post-infection.
CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have demonstrated that B. pseudomallei OmpA proteins are immunogenic in mice as well as melioidosis patients and should be further assessed as potential vaccine candidates against B. pseudomallei infection.
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