The major antigenic component of pathogenic Leptospira spp. is lipopolysaccharide (LPS). However, due to the specificity of the immune response generated towards LPS and the diversity in leptospiral LPS carbohydrate structure, current commercial vaccines stimulate protection only against homologous or closely related serovars. Vaccines that confer heterologous protection would enhance protection in vaccinated animals and reduce transmission to humans. Several studies have investigated the potential of various leptospiral outer membrane proteins to stimulate protective immunity against pathogenic Leptospira species. These include the surface-exposed lipoproteins LipL32 and LigA. However, consistent protection from infection has proved difficult to reproduce. In this study we assessed the protective capacity of recombinant LipL32, the six carboxy-terminal unique Ig-like repeat domains of LigA (LigANI) and a LipL32-LigANI fusion protein in hamsters against infection with Leptospira interrogans serovar Manilae. Despite all of the proteins eliciting antibody responses, none of the hamsters was protected against infection. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
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