The identification of Yersinia pestis as a potential bioterrorism agent and the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains have highlighted the need for improved vaccines and treatments for plague. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential for ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins to be exploited as novel vaccines against plague. Western blotting of ABC transporter proteins using sera from rabbits immunized with killed whole Y. pestis cells or human convalescent-phase sera identified four immunologically reactive proteins: OppA, PstS, YrbD, and PiuA. Mice immunized with these proteins developed antibody to the immunogen. When the immunized mice were challenged with Y. pestis, the OppA-immunized mice showed an increased time to death compared to other groups, and protection appeared to correlate with the level of immunoglobulin G antibody to OppA.
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