Background. Moraxella catarrhalis is an established pathogen that is causing substantial infections to both children and adults. However, so far there is no effective vaccine to halt the spread of these infections.
Methods. Immunoinformatics tools were used to predict M. catarrhalis epitopes that could offer immunoprotection among major proportions of human populations worldwide. Mice were immunized with the best 3 peptides and then challenged with M. catarrhalis in the pulmonary clearance model. Finally, antibodies against these epitopes were detected in humans.
Results. Immunoinformatics analyses identified 44 epitopes that are predicted to be good major histocompatibility complex class II binders and at the same time show high population coverage worldwide. After intraperitoneal immunization of mice with the best 3 peptides, peptide A, derived from lactoferrin-binding protein A, showed superior activity in immunogenicity and in clearing M. catarrhalis from mouse lungs. Higher clearance was obtained by combining intraperitoneal and intranasal immunization. In the serum samples from children with otitis media infected with M. catarrhalis, antibody levels against peptide A were significantly lower than in samples from children without otitis media.
Conclusions. Peptide A is the first promising peptide-based vaccine against M. catarrhalis. Immunoinformatics predicts that it should have a global protection around the world.