Polypeptides For Inducing A Protective Immune Response Against Staphylococcus Aureus

POLYPEPTIDES FOR INDUCING A PROTECTIVE IMMUNE RESPONSE AGAINST STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/645,811 filed January 21, 2005, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The references cited throughout the present application are not admitted to be prior art to the claimed invention.

Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen responsible for a wide range of diseases and conditions. Examples of diseases and conditions caused by S. aureus inclu.de bacteremia, infective endocarditis, folliculitis, furuncle, carbuncle, impetigo, bullous impetigo, cellulitis, botryomyosis, toxic shock syndrome, scalded skin syndrome, central nervous system infections, infective and inflammatory eye disease, osteomyelitis and other infections of joints and bones, and respiratory tract infections. (The Staphylococci in Human Disease, Crossley and Archer (eds.), Churchill Livingstone Inc. 1997.)

Immunological based strategies can be employed to control S. aureus infections and the spread of S. aureus. Immunological based strategies include passive and active immunization. Passive immunization employs immunoglobulins targeting S. aureus. Active immunization induces immune responses against S. aureus.

Potential S. aureus vaccines target S. aureus polysaccharides and polypeptides. Targeting can be achieved using suitable S. aureus polysaccharides or polypeptides as vaccine components. Examples of polysaccharides that may be employed as possible vaccine components include S. aureus type 5 and type 8 capsular polysaccharides. (Shinefield et ah, N. Eng. J. Med. 346:491-4-96, 2002.) Examples of polypeptides that may be employed as possible vaccine components include collagen adhesin, fibrinogen binding proteins, and clumping factor. (Mamo et at, FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 10:41-54, 1994, Nilsson et al, J. Clin. Invest. 101:2640-2649, 1998, Josefsson et al, The Journal of Infectious Diseases iS4: 1572-1580, 2001.)

Information concerning S. aureus polypeptide sequences has been obtained from sequencing the S. aureus genome. (Kuroda et al., Lancet 357:1225-1240, 2O01, Baba et al., Lancet 359:1819-1827, 2000, Kunsch et al, European Patent Publication EP 0 786 519, published July 30, 1997.) To some extent bioinformatics has been employed in efforts to characterize polypeptide sequences obtained from genome sequencing. (Kunsch et ah, European Patent Publication EP 0 786 519, published July 30, 1997.)

Techniques such as those involving display technology and sera from infected patients have been used in an effort to help identify genes coding for potential antigens. (Foster et at, International Publication Number WO 01/98499, published December 27, 2001, Meinke et al, International Publication Number WO 02/059148, published August 1, 2002, Etz et at, PNAS 99:6573-6578, 2002.)

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention features polypeptides comprising an amino acid sequence structurally related to SEQ ED NO: 1 or a fragment thereof, S. aureus AhpC-AhpF compositions, and uses of such polypeptides and compositions. SEQ ID NO: 1 lias a full length S. aureus AhpC sequence. A derivative of SEQ ID NO: 1 containing an amino His-tag and three additional carboxyl amino acids was found to produce a protective immune xesponse against S. aureus.

Reference to "protective" immunity or immune response indicates a detectable level of protection against S. aureus infection. The level of protection can be assessed using animal models such as those described herein.

Thus, a first aspect of the present invention describes a polypeptide immunogen comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 or to a fragment of SEQ ED NO: 1, wherein the polypeptide provides protective immonity against S. aureus and the polypeptide immunogen is not the polypeptide of SEQ ED NO: 1. Reference to immunogen indicates the ability to provide protective immunity against S. aureus.

Reference to comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ED NO: 1 indicates that a SEQ ED NO: 1 related region is present and additional polypeptide regions may be present. Percent identity (also referred to as percent identical) to a reference sequence is determined by aligning the polypeptide sequence with the reference sequence and determining the number of identical amino acids in the corresponding regions. This number is divided by the total number of amino acids in the reference sequence (e.g., SEQ ID NO: 1) and then multiplied by 100 and rounded to the nearest whole number.

Another aspect of the present invention describes ajn immunogen comprising a polypeptide that provides protective immunity against S. aureus and one or more additional regions or moieties covalently joined to the polypeptide at the carboxyl terminus or amino terminus, wherein each region or moiety is independently selected from a region or moiety having at least one of the following properties: enhances the immune response, facilitates purification, or facilitates polypeptide stability. Reference to "additional region or moiety" indicates a region or moiety different from a S. aureus AhpC region. The additional region or moiety can be, for example, an additional polypeptide region or a non-peptide region.

Another aspect of the present invention describes a purified immunogen made up of an AhpC-AhpF composition. The AhpC component comprises a polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1. The AhpF component comprises a polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 3. Reference to purified indicates that the composition is present in an environment lacking one or more other polypeptides with which AhpC and AhpF is naturally associated and/or represents at least about 10% of the total protein present.

Preferably, the composition is substantially purified. A "substantially purified" AhpC and AhpF composition is present in an environment lacking all, or most, other polypeptides with which AhpC and AhpF polypeptide is naturally associated.

Reference to "purified" or "substantially purified" does not require a polypeptide to undergo any purification and may include, for example, a chemically synthesized polypeptide that has not been purified.

Another aspect of the present invention describes a composition able to induce protective immunity against S. aureus in a patient. The composition comprises a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier and an immunologically effective amount of an immunogen providing protective immunity against S. aureus.

An immunologically effective amount is an amount sufficient to provide protective immunity against S. aureus infection. The amount should be sufficient to significantly prevent the likelihood or severity of a S. aureus infection.

Another aspect of the present invention describes a nucleic acid comprising a recombinant gene encoding a polypeptide that provides protective immunity against S. aureus. A recombinant gene contains recombinant nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide along with regulatory elements for proper transcription and processing (which may include translational and post translational elements). The recombinant gene can exist independent of a host genome or can be part of a host genome.

A recombinant nucleic acid is nucleic acid that by virtue of its sequence and/or form does not occur in nature. Examples of recombinant nucleic acid include purified nucleic acid, two or more nucleic acid regions combined together that provide a. different nucleic acid than found in nature, and the absence of one or more nucleic acid regions (e.g., upstream or downstream regions) that are naturally associated with each other. Another aspect of the present invention describes a recombinant cell. Th. e cell comprises a recombinant gene encoding a polypeptide that provides protective immunity against S. aureus.

Another aspect of the present invention describes a method of making a polypeptide that provides protective immunity against 5. aureus. The method involves growing a recombinant cell containing recombinant nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide and purifying the polypeptide.

Another aspect of the present invention describes a polypeptide that provides protective immunity against S. aureus made by a process comprising the steps of growiαg a recombinant cell containing recombinant nucleic acid encoding the polypeptide in a host and purifying the polypeptide. Different host cells can be employed.

Another aspect of the present invention describes an isolated AhpC-AhpP binding protein. The binding protein comprises an antibody variable region that binds to an AhpC-AhpF complex.

Reference to "isolated" indicates a different form than found in nature. TIhe different form can be, for example, a different purity than found in nature and/or a structure that is not found in nature. A structure not found in nature includes recombinant structures where different regions are combined together, for example, humanized antibodies where one oar more murine complementary determining regions (CDR) is inserted onto a human framework scaffold, hybrid antibodies where one or more CDR from an antibody binding protein is inserted into a different framework scaffold, and antibodies derived from natural human sequences wheare genes coding light and heavy variable domains were randomly combined together.

The isolated protein is preferably substantially free of serum proteins. A protein substantially free of serum proteins is present in an environment lacking most or all seruπn proteins -

Another aspect of the present invention describes a method of treating a patient against S. aureus infection. The method comprises the step of administering to the patient one or more of the following:

(a) an immunologically effective amount of an immunogen comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 or a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 1, wherein the polypeptide provides protective immunity against S. aureus:

(b) an immunogenic composition comprising a polypeptide at least 85*3£> identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 and a polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 3; or

(c) an effective amount of an AhpC-AhpF binding protein. Unless particular terms are mutually exclusive, reference to "or" indicat&s either or both possibilities. Occasionally phrases such as "and/or" are used to highlight either or both possibilities.

Reference to open-ended terms such as "comprises" allows for additional elements or steps. Occasionally phrases such as "one or more" are used with or without open- ended terms to highlight the possibility of additional elements or steps.

Unless explicitly stated reference to terms such as "a" or "an" is not limited to one. For example, "a cell" does not exclude "cells". Occasionally phrases such as one or more are used to highlight the possible presence of a plurality.

Other features and advantages of the present invention are apparent from the additional descriptions provided herein including the different examples. The provided examples illustrate different components and methodology useful in practicing the present invention. The examples do not limit the claimed invention. Based on the present disclosure the skilled artisan can identify and employ other components and methodology useful for practicing the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 illustrates the amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 and SEQ BD NO: 2. The entire sequence is SEQ ID NO: 2. The portion shown in bold is SEQ ID NO: 1. The underlined regions are an amino His-tag region and additional amino acids at the carboxyl end.

Figure 2 illustrates a sequence comparison between AhpC sequences from S. aureus (SEQ ID NO: 1) and S. epidennidis (SEQ ID NO: 6, GenBank Accession No. AE016752). Amino acid differences are shown in bold.

Figure 3 illustrates a nucleic acid sequence (SEQ ID NO: 5) encoding SEQ ID NO: 2. The additional Flis-tag and carboxyl amino acids encoding region are shown in bold.

Figure 4 illustrates a DNA sequence (SEQ ID NO: 4) encoding for SEQ DD NO: 3.

Figures 5 A and 5B illustrate a sequence comparison between different Ah/pF sequences from S. aureus: SEQ ED NOs: 3 (GenBank Accession No. U92441), 9 (GenBaaak Accession No. AP004-823), and 10 (GenBank Accession No. BX57183) and S. epiderniicZis, SEQ ID NO: 8 (GenBank Accession No. AE016752). Amino acid differences are shown in bold.

Figures 6 A and 6B illustrate results from experiments using either a SEQ ID NO: 2 polypeptide (closed circles) in aluminum hydroxyphosphate adjuvant, or the adjuvant alone (triangles). DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The ability of SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides to provide protective immunity is illustrated in the Examples provided below using SEQ ID NO: 2. SEQ ID NO: 2 is a derivative of SEQ ID NO: 1 containing an amino His-tag and three additional carboxyl amino acids. The His-tag facilitates polypeptide purification and identification.

Polypeptides structurally related to SEQ ID NO: 1 include polypeptides containing corresponding regions present in different S. aureus strains and derivatives of naturally occurring regions. The amino acid sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1 is illustrated by the bold region in Figure 1. Figure 1 also illustrates the amino His-tag present and additional carboxyl amino acids present in SEQ ID NO: 2.

I. AhpC Sequences

S. aureus AhpC was initially identified as a protein induced by osmotic up shock having extensive similarity to E. coli alkyl hydroperoxide reductase (AhpC). (Amstrong- Buisseret et al, Microbiology 141:1655-1661, 1995.) AhpC homologs of varying similarity are present in mammalian brain and in different organisms, including numerous bacterial species. (Chae et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97:7017-7021, 1994, Yan et al, Helicobacter (5:274-282, 2001.)

S. aureus AhpC related sequences have been given different designations in different references. Examples of different designations are provided in TIGR (SA0452); Baba et al, Lancet 359:1819-1827, 2002 (MW0357); Kuroda et al, Lancet 357:1225-1240, 2001 (SAV0381); and Ohta et al, DNA Research 1:51, 2004 (SAV0381 and SAV0773).

Figure 2 provides a sequence comparison for S. aureus AhpC related sequences present in S. aureus (SEQ ID NO: 1) and S. epidermidis (SEQ ID NO: 6). Additional comparisons can be performed from other AhpC sequences.

Other naturally occurring AhpC sequences can be identified based on the presence of a high degree of sequence similarity or contiguous amino acids compared to a known AhpC sequence. Contiguous amino acids provide characteristic tags. In different embodiments, a naturally occurring AhpC sequence is a sequence found in a Staphylococcus, preferably S. aureus, having at least 20, at least 30, or at least 50 contiguous amino acids as in SEQ ID NO: 1; and/or having at least 85% sequence similarity or identity with SEQ ID NO: 1.

Sequence similarity can be determined by different algorithms and techniques well known in the art. Generally, sequence similarity is determined by techniques aligning two sequences to obtain maximum amino acid identity, allowing for gaps, additions and substitutions in one of the sequences. Sequence similarity can be determined, for example, using a local alignment tool utilizing the program lalign (developed by Huang and. Miller, Adv. Appl. Math. 12:337-357, 1991, for the «sim» program). The options and environment variables are:-f # Penalty for the first residue a gap (-14 by default); -g # Penalty for each additional residue in a gap (-4 by default)-s str (SMATRIX) the filename of an alternative scoring matrix file. For protein sequences, PAM250 is used by default-w # (LINLEN) output line length for sequence alignments (60).

H SEO DD NO: 1 Related Polypeptides

SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides contain an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1. Reference to "polypeptide" does not provide a minimum or maximum size limitation.

A polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 contains up to about 28 amino acid, alterations from SEQ ID NO: 1. Each amino acid alteration is independently either an amino acid substitution, deletion, or addition. In different embodiments, the SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptide is at least 90%, at least 94%, or at least 99% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1; differs from SEQ E) NO: 1 by 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 , 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 amino acid alterations; or consists essentially of SEQ ID NO: 1.

An embodiment of the present invention features a polypeptide imrnunogen comprising or consisting essentially of a sequence at least 85%, at least 95%, or 100% identical to amino acids 178-189 of SEQ ID NO: 1. In further embodiments, the polypeptide comprising amino acids 178-189 of SEQ ID NO: 1 consists of no more than 13, 15, 20, 25, 50, 100, or 150 amino acids in total; and/or the overall polypeptide is at least 85%, at least 90%, or identical to a SEQ ID NO: 1 region and comprises amino acids 178-189 of SEQ ID NO: 1. Additional amino acids that may be present include additional SEQ ID NO: 1 amino acids or other amino acid regions. A preferred additional amino acid is an amino terminus methionine.

Reference to "consists essentially" of indicated amino acids indicates that the referred to amino acids are present and additional amino acids may be present. The additional amino acids can be at the carboxyl or amino terminus. 3n different embodiments 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 additional amino acids are present.

Alterations can be made to SEQ ID NO: 1 polypeptides and fragments thereof to obtain derivatives that induce protective immunity against S. aureus. Alterations can be performed, for example, to obtain a derivative retaining the ability to induce protective immunity against S. aureus or to obtain a derivative that in addition to providing protective immunity also has a region that can achieve a particular purpose. The sequence comparison provided in Figure 2, and a comparison with other S. aureus AhpC sequences, can be used to guide the design of potential alterations. In addition, alterations can be made talcing into account known properties of amino acids.

Generally, in substituting different amino acids to retain activity it is preferable to exchange amino acids having similar properties. Factors that can be taken into account for an amino acid substitution include amino acid size, charge, polarity, and hydrophobicity. The effect of different amino acid R-groups on amino acid properties are well known in the art. (See, for example, Ausubel, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley, 1987-2002, Appendix: 1C.)

In exchanging amino acids to maintain activity, the replacement amino acid should have one or more similar properties such as approximately the same charge and/or size and/or polarity and/or hydrophobicity. For example, substituting valine for leucine, arginine fox lysine, and asparagine for glutamine are good candidates for not causing a change in polypeptide functioning.

Alterations to achieve a particular purpose include those designed to facilitate production or efficacy of the polypeptide; or cloning of the encoded nucleic acid. Polypeptide production can be facilitated through the use of an initiation codon (e.g., coding for methionine) suitable for recombinant expression. The methionine may be later removed during cellular processing. Cloning can be facilitated by, for example, the introduction of restriction sites which can be accompanied by amino acid additions or changes.

Efficacy of a polypeptide to induce an immune response can be enhanced througti epitope enhancement. Epitope enhancement can be performed using different techniques such as those involving alteration of anchor residues to improve peptide affinity for MHC molecules and those increasing affinity of the peptide-MHC complex for a T-cell receptor. (Berzofsky et al., Nature Review 7:209-219, 2001.)

Preferably, the polypeptide is a purified polypeptide. A "purified polypeptide" is- present in an environment lacking one or more other polypeptides with which it is naturally associated and/or is represented by at least about 10% of the total protein present. In different embodiments, the purified polypeptide represents at least about 50%, at least about 75%, or at least about 95% of the total protein in a sample or preparation.

In an embodiment, the polypeptide is "substantially purified." A substantially purified polypeptide is present in an environment lacking all, or most, other polypeptides with which the polypeptide is naturally associated. For example, a substantially purified S. aureus polypeptide is present in an environment lacking all, or most, other S. aureus polypeptides. An environment can be, for example, a sample or preparation. Reference to "purified" or "substantially purified" does not require a polypeptide to undergo any purification and may include, for example, a chemically synthesized polypeptide that has not been purified.

Polypeptide stability can be enhanced by modifying the polypeptide carboxyl or amino terminus. Examples of possible modifications include amino terminus protecting groups such as acetyl, propyl, succinyl, benzyl, benzyloxycarbonyl or t-butyloxycarbonyl; and carboxyl terminus protecting groups such as amide, methylamide, and ethylamide.

In an embodiment of the present invention the polypeptide immunogen is part of an immunogen containing one or more additional regions or moieties covalently joined to the polypeptide at the carboxyl terminus or amino terminus, where each region or moiety is independently selected from a region or moiety having at least one of the following properties: enhances the immune response, facilitates purification, or facilitates polypeptide stability. Polypeptide stability can be enhanced, for example, using groups such as polyethylene glycol that may be present on the amino or carboxyl terminus.

Polypeptide purification can be enhanced by adding a group to the carboxyl or amino terminus to facilitate purification. Examples of groups that can be used to facilitate purification include polypeptides providing affinity tags. Examples of affinity tags include a six- histidine tag, trpE, glutathione and maltose-binding protein.

The ability of a polypeptide to produce an immune response can be enhanced using groups that generally enhance an immune response. Examples of groups that can be joined to a polypeptide to enhance an immune response against the polypeptide include cytokines such as IL-2. (Buchan et al, 2000. Molecular Immunology 37:545-552.)

in. AhpC-AhpF Immunogens

An AhpC-AhpF immunogen is a composition containing an AhpC and an AhpF component. The AhpC component is made up of a SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptide. The AhpF component is made up of a SEQ ED NO: 3 related polypeptide.

SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides contain an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1. Different embodiments of SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides are described in Section II supra.

SEQ ID NO: 3 related polypeptides contain an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 3. Each amino acid alteration is independently either an amino acid substitution, deletion, or addition. In different embodiments, the SEQ ID NO: 3 related polypeptide is at least 90%, at least 94%, at least 99%, or identical to SEQ ID NO: 3; differs from SEQ ID NO: 3 by 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20 amino acid alterations; or consists essentially of SEQ ID NO: 3.

Alterations can be made to SEQ ID NO: 3 related polypeptides to obtain derivatives used with the SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptide component. Alterations can be performed, for example, to obtain an overall composition retaining the ability to induce protective immunity against S. aureus or to obtain an overall composition, that in addition to providing protective immunity also has a region that can achieve a particular purpose.

Examples of different AhpF sequences that can be used to aid in the design of the AhpF component are provided in Figures 5 A and 5B. Additional guidance for producing alterations to a polypeptide are provided in Section II supra.

S. aureus AhpF related sequences have been given different designations in different references. Examples of different designations are provided in TIGR (SA0451); Baba et al, Lancet 559:1819-1827, 2002 (MW0356); Kuroda et al, Lancet 357:1225-1240, 2001 (SAVO38O and SA0365) ; and Enright et al, PNAS 99:9786-9791, 2002 (SAS0357 and SAR0398).

AhpC and AhpF composition are preferably produced recombinantly using constructs expressing both components. For example, an E. coli strain can be engineered to coexpress ahpC and ahpF and the AhpC and AhpF complex can be isolated. Additional guidance and examples for polypeptide production is provided in Section IV infra.

TV. Polypeptide Production

Polypeptides can be produced using standard techniques including those involving chemical synthesis and those involving purification from a cell producing the polypeptide. Techniques for chemical synthesis of polypeptides are well known in the art. (See e.g., Vincent, Peptide and Protein Drug Delivery, New York, N. Y., Decker, 1990.) Techniques for recombinant polypeptide production and purification are also well known in the art. (See for example, Ausubel, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley, 1987-2002.)

Obtaining polypeptides from a cell is facilitated using recombinant nucleic acid techniques to produce the polypeptide. Recombinant nucleic acid techniques for producing a polypeptide involve introducing, or producing, a recombinant gene encoding the polypeptide in a cell and expressing the polypeptide.

A recombinant gene contains nucleic acid encoding a polypeptide along with regulatory elements for polypeptide expression. The recombinant gene can be present in a cellular genome or can be part of an expression vector. The regulatory elements that may be present as part of a recombinant gene include those naturally associated with the polypeptide encoding sequence and exogenous regulatory elements not naturally associated with the polypeptide encoding sequence. Exogenous regulatory elements such as an exogenous promoter can be useful for expressing a recombinant gene in a particular host or increasing the level of expression. Generally, the regulatory elements that are present in a recombinant gene include a transcriptional promoter, a ribosome binding site, a terminator, and an optionally present operator. A preferred element for processing in eukaryotic cells is a polyadenylation signal.

Expression of a recombinant gene in a cell is facilitated through the use of an expression vector. Preferably, an expression vector in addition to a recombinant gene also contains an origin of replication for autonomous replication in a host cell, a selectable marker, a limited number of useful restriction enzyme sites, and a potential for high copy number. Examples of expression vectors are. cloning vectors, modified cloning vectors, specifically designed plasmids and viruses.

Due to the degeneracy of the genetic code, a large number of different encoding nucleic acid sequences can be used to code for a particular polypeptide. The degeneracy of the genetic code arises because almost all amino acids are encoded by different combinations of nucleotide triplets or "codons". Amino acids are encoded by codons as follows: A=Ala=Alanine: codons GCA, GCC, GCG, GCU C=Cys=Cysteine: codons UGC, UGU D=Asp=Aspartic acid: codons GAC, GAU E=Glu=Glutamic acid: codons GAA, GAG F=Phe=Phenylalanine: codons UUC, UUU G=Gly=Glycine: codons GGA, GGC, GGG, GGU H=His=Histidine: codons CAC, CA.U I=Ile=Isoleucine: codons AUA, AUC, AUU K=Lys=Lysine: codons AAA, AACf

L=Leu=Leucine: codons UUA, UUG, CUA, CUC, CUG, CUU M=Met=Methionine: codon AUG N=Asn=Asparagine: codons AAC, AAU p=Pro=Proline: codons CCA, CCC, CCG, CCU Q=Gln=Glutamine: codons CAA, CAG

R=Arg=Arginine: codons AGA, AGG, CGA, CGC, CGG, CGU S=Ser=Serine: codons AGC, AGU, XJCA, UCC, UCG, UCU T=Thr=Threonine: codons ACA, ACC, ACG, ACU V=Val=Valine: codons GUA, GUC, GUG, GUU W=Trp=Tryptoρhan: codon UGG γ=Tyr=Tyrosine: codons UAC, UAU

Suitable cells for recombinant nucleic acid expression of SEQ DD NO: 1 or SEQ ED NO: 3 related polypeptides are prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Examples of prokaryotic cells include E. coli; members of the Staphylococcus genus, such as S. aureus; members of the Lactobacillus genus, such as L. plantarum; members of the Lactococcus genus, such as L. lactis; and members of the Bacillus genus, such as B. subtilis. Examples of eukaryotic cells include mammalian cells; insect cells; yeast cells such as members of the Sac char omyces genus {e.g., S. cerevisiae), members of the Pichia genus (e.g., P. pastoris), members of the Hansenula genus (e.g., H. polymorpha), members of the Kluyveromyces genus (e.g., K. lactis or K. fragilis) and members of the Schizosaccharomyces genus (e.g., S. pombe).

Techniques far recombinant gene production, introduction into a cell, and recombinant gene expression are well known in the art. Examples of such techniques are provided in references such as Ausubel, Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley, 1987-2002, and Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning, A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Edition, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1989.

If desired, expression in a particular host can be enhanced through codon optimization. Codon optimization includes use of more preferred codons. Techniques for codon optimization in different hosts are well known in the art.

Polypeptides may contain post translational modifications, for example, N-linked glycosylation, O-linked glycosylation, or acetylation. Reference to "polypeptide" or an "amino acid" sequence of a polypeptide includes polypeptides containing one or more amino acids having a structure of a post-translational modification from a host cell, such as a yeast host.

Post translational modifications can be produced chemically or by making use of suitable hosts. For example, In S. cerevisiae the nature of the penultimate amino acid appears to determine whether the N-terrninal methionine is removed. Furthermore, the nature of the penultimate amino acid also determines whether the N-terminal amino acid is Nα-acetylated (Huang et ah, Biochemistry 26: 8242-8246, 1987). Another example includes a polypeptide targeted for secretion due to trie presence of a secretory leader (e.g., signal peptide), where the protein is modified by N-linked or O-linked glycosylation. (Kukuruzinska et ah, Ann. Rev. Biochem. 56:915-944, 1987.) V. Adjuvants

Adjuvants are substances that can assist an immunogen in producing an immune response. Adjuvants can function by different mechanisms such as one or more of the following: increasing the antigen biologic or immunologic half-life; improving antigen delivery to antigen- presenting cells; improving antigen processing and presentation by antigen-presenting cells; and inducing production of immunomodulatory cytokines. (Vogel, Clinical Infectious Diseases 30 (suppl. 3):S266-2'70, 2000.)

A variety of different types of adjuvants can be employed to assist in the production of an immune response. Examples of particular adjuvants include aluminum hydroxide, aluminum phosphate, or other salts of aluminum, calcium phosphate, DNA CpG motifs, monophosphoryl lipid A, cholera toxin, E. coli heat-labile toxin, pertussis toxin, muramyl dipeptide, Freund' s incomplete adjuvant, MF59, SAF, immunostimulatory complexes, liposomes, biodegradable microspheres, saponins, nonionic block copolymers, muramyl peptide analogues, polyphosphazene, synthetic polynucleotides, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, and ISCOMS. (Vogel Clinical Infectious Diseases 30 (suppl 3):S266-270, 2000, Klein et ah, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences §9:311-321, 2000, Rimmelzwaan et al., Vaccine 19:1180-1187, 2001, Kersten Vaccine 2 J:915-920, 2003, O'Hagen Curr. Drug Target Infect. Disord., 1:273-286, 2001.)

VI. Patients

A "patient" refers to a mammal capable of being infected with S. aureus. A patient can be treated prophylactically or therapeutically. Prophylactic treatment provides sufficient protective immunity to reduce the likelihood, or severity, of a S. aureus infection. Therapeutic treatment can be performed to reduce the severity of a S. aureus infection.

Prophylactic treatment can be performed using a vaccine containing an immunogen described herein. Such treatment is preferably performed on a human. Vaccines can be administered to the general population or to those persons at an increased risk of S. aureus infection.

Persons with an increased risk of S. aureus infection include health care workers; hospital patients; patients with a weakened immune system; patients undergoing surgery; patients receiving foreign body implants, such as a catheter or a vascular device; patients facing therapy leading to a weakened immunity; and persons in professions having an increased risk of burn or wound injury. (The Staphylococci in Human Disease, Crossley and Archer (ed.), Churchill Livingstone Inc. 1997.) Non-human patients that can be infected with S. aureus include cows, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits, horses, dogs, cats, monkeys, xats, and mice. Treatment of non-human patients is useful in protecting pets and livestock, and in evaluating the efficacy of a particular treatment.

VH Combination Vaccines

Immunogens described herein can be used alone, or in combination with other immunogens, to induce an immune response. Additional immunogens that may be present include: one or more additional S. aureus immunogens, such as those referenced in the Background of the Invention supra; one or more immunogens targeting one or more other Staphylococcus organisms such as S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus, S. warneri, or S. lugunensis; and one or more immunogens targeting other infections organisms.

VIH. Animal Model System

An animal model system was used to evaluate the efficacy of an immunogert to produce a protective immune response against S. aureus. The animal model was a slow kinetics lethality model involving S. aureus prepared, from cells in stationary phase, appropriately titrated, and intravenously administered. This slow kinetics of death provides sufficient time for th& specific immune defense to fight off the bacterial infection (e.g., 10 days rather 24 hours).

S. aureus cells in stationary phase can be obtained from cells grown on solid medium. They can also be obtained from liquid, however the results with cells grown on solid medium were more reproducible. Cells can conveniently be grown overnight on solid medium. For example, S. aureus can be grown from about 18 to about 24 hours under conditions where the doubling time is about 20-30 minutes.

S. aureus can be isolated from solid or liquid medium using standard techniques to maintain S. aureus potency. Isolated S. aureus can be stored, for example, at -700C as a washed high density suspension (> 109 colony forming units (CFU)/mL) in phosphate buffered saline containing glycerol.

The S. aureus challenge should have a potency providing about 80 to 90% death in an animal model over a period of about 7 to 10 days starting on the first or second day. Titration experiments can be performed using animal models to monitor the potency of the stored S. aureus inoculum. The titration experiments can be performed about one to two weeks prior to an inoculation experiment. IX. Antibodies

Immunogens containing SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides and AhpC-AhpF compositions can be used to produce isolated binding proteins that "bind to the immunogen or to S. aureus. Such binding proteins have different uses including use in polypeptide purification, S. aureus identification, or in therapeutic or prophylactic treatment against S. aureus infection. Preferably, the binding protein is substantially free of serum proteins.

A binding protein comprises a first variable region and a second variable region. The variable regions have the structure of an antibody variable region from a heavy or light chain. Antibody heavy and light chain variable regions contain three complementary determining regions interspaced onto a framework. The complementary determining regions are primarily responsible for recognizing a particular epitope. Examples of antibody binding protein include single-chain antibodies, a complete antibody, an antibody fragment, and derivatives thereof.

A preferred antigen binding protein is a monoclonal antibody. Reference to a "monoclonal antibody" indicates a collection of antibodies having the same, or substantially the same, complementary determining region and binding specificity. The variation in the monoclonal antibodies is that which would occur if the antibodies were produced from the same construct(s).

Monoclonal antibodies can be produced, for example, from a particular hybridoma and from a recombinant cell containing one or more recombinant genes encoding the antibody. The antibody may be encoded by more than one recombinant gene where, for example, one gene encodes the heavy chain and one gene encodes the light chain.

Antibody fragments containing an antibody variable region include Fv, Fab, and Fab2 regions. Each Fab region contains a light chain made up of a variable region and a constant region, and a heavy chain region containing a variable region and a constant region. A light chain is joined to a heavy chain by disulfide bonding through constant regions. The light and heavy chain variable regions of a Fab region provide for an Fv region that participates in antigen binding.

The antibody variable region can also be part of protein containing variable regions such as single chain antibody and a minibody. A single chain antibody contains a light and a heavy variable region joined together by a linker. The linker can be, for example, about 5 to 16 amino acids. A minibody is a single chain-CH3 fusion protein that self assembles into a bivalent dimer of about 80 kDa.

Specificity of the variable region is determined by three hypervariable regions (also referred to as complementarity determining regions), that are interposed between more conserved flanking regions (also referred to as framework regions). Amino acids associated with framework regions and complementarity determining regions can be numbered and aligned as described by Kabat et al, Sequences of Proteins of Immunological Interest, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1991.

Techniques for generating antigen binding protein such as a single-chain antibody, an antibody, or an antibody fragment are well known in the art. Examples of such techniques include the use of phage display technology, identification and humanization of rodent antibodies, and generation of human antibodies using a XenoNlouse or Trans-Chromo mouse. (E.g., Azzazy et al, Clinical Biochemistry 35:425-445, 2002, Berger et al, Am. J. Med. ScL 324(1): 14-40, 2002.)

Murine antibodies can be humanized, and CDR.' s, can be grafted on to human antibody frameworks using techniques well known in art. Such techniques are generally described with reference to humanizing murine antibodies by grafting murine variable regions onto a human antibody framework and, if needed making further modifications. (E.g., O'Brien et al, Humanization of Monoclonal Antibodies by CDR Grafting, p 81-100, From Methods in Molecular Biology VoI 207: Recombinant antibodies for Cancer Therapy: Methods and Protocols (Eds. Welschof and Rrauss) Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, 2003.)

Antigen binding protein are preferably produced using recombinant nucleic acid techniques or through the use of a hybridoma. Recombinant nxicleic acid techniques involve constructing a nucleic acid template for protein synthesis. A hybridoma is an immortalized cell line producing the antigen binding protein.

Recombinant nucleic acid encoding an antigen binding protein can be expressed in a host cell that in effect serves as a factory for the encoded protein. The recombinant nucleic acid can provide a recombinant gene encoding the antigen binding protein that exists autonomously from a host cell genome or as part of the host ceTl genome.

A recombinant gene contains nucleic acid encoding a protein along with regulatory elements for protein expression. Generally, the regutlatory elements that are present in a recombinant gene include a transcriptional promoter, a ribosome binding site, a terminator, and an optionally present operator. A preferred element for processing in eukaryotic cells is a polyadenylation signal. Antibody associated introns may also fc>e present. Examples of expression cassettes for antibody or antibody fragment production are well known in art. (E.g., Persic et al, Gene 187:9-1%, 1997, Boel et al, J. Immunol. Methods 239:153-166, 2000, Liang et al, J. Immunol. Methods 247:119-130, 2001.)

Expression of a recombinant gene in a cell is facilitated using an expression vector. Preferably, an expression vector, in addition to a recombinant gene, also contains an origin of replication for autonomous replication in a host cell, a selectable marker, a limited number of useful restriction enzyme sites, and a potential for high copy number. Examples of expression vectors for antibody and antibody fragment production are well known in art. (E.g., Persic et al, Gene 757:9-18, 1997, Boel et al, J. Immunol. Methods 239:153-166, 200O, Liang et al, J. Immunol. Methods 247:119-130, 2001.)

If desired, nucleic acid encoding an antibody may be integrated into the ftost chromosome using techniques well known in the art. (See, Ausubel, Current Protocols: in Molecular Biology, John Wiley, 1987-1998, Mark et al, U.S. Patent No. 6,743,622.)

A variety of different cell lines can be used for recombinant antigen binding protein expression, including those from prokaryotic organisms {e.g., E. coli, Bacilli, and Streptomyces) and from Eukaryotic (e.g., yeast, Baculovirus, and mammalian). (Breitling et al, Recombinant Antibodies, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Spektrum Akademischer Verlag:, 1999.)

Preferred hosts for recombinant antigen binding protein expression are mammalian cells able to produce antigen binding protein with proper post translational modifications. Post translational modifications include disulfide bond formation and glycosylation. Another type of post translational modification is signal peptide cleavage.

Proper glycosylation can be important for antibody function. (Yoo et al., Journal of Immunological Methods 261:1-20, 2002.) Naturally occurring antibodies contain at least one N-linked carbohydrate attached to a heavy chain. (Id.) Additional N-linked carbohydrates and O-linked carbohydrates may be present and may be important for antibody function. (Id. )

Different types of mammalian host cells can be used to provide for efficient post- translational modifications. Examples of such host cells include Chinese hamster ovary (CHO), HeLa, C6, PC12, and myeloma cells. (Yoo et al, Journal of Immunological Methods 2(51:1-20, 2O02, Persic et al, Gene 757:9-18, 1997.)

A hybridoma can be produced using techniques such as those described in Ausubel Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley, 1987-1998, Harlow et at , Antibodies, A Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1988, and Kohler et al, Nature 256, 495-497, 1975.

X. Administration

Immunogens and binding protein can be formulated and administered to a patient using the guidance provided herein along with techniques well known in the art. Guidelines for pharmaceutical administration in general are provided in, for example, Vaccines Eds. Plotkin and Orenstein, W.B. Sanders Company, 1999; Remington's Pharmaceutical Sciences 20th Edition, Ed. Gennaro, Mack Publishing, 2000; and Modern Pharmaceutics 2nd Edition, Eds. Banker and Rhodes, Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1990, each of which are hereby incorporated by reference h&xein.

Pharmaceutically acceptable carriers facilitate storage and administration of an immunogen to a patient. Pharmaceutically acceptable earners may contain different components such as a buffer, sterile water for injection, normal saline or phosphate buffered saline, sucxose, histidine, salts and polysorbate.

Immunogens and binding protein can be administered by different routes such as subcutaneous, intramuscular, or mucosal. Subcutaneous and intramuscular administration can be performed using, for example, needles or jet-injectors.

Suitable dosing regimens are preferably determined talcing into account factors well known in the art including age, weight, sex and medical condition of the patient; the route of administration; the desired effect; and the particular compound employed. The immunogen or binding protein can be used in multi-dose formats. It is expected that a dose would consist of the range of 1.0 μg to 1.0 mg total polypeptide, in different embodiments of the present inventl on the range is 0.01 mg to 1.0 mg and 0.1 mg to 1.0 mg.

The timing of doses depends upon factors well known in the art. After the initial administration one or more booster doses may subsequently be administered to maintain or boost antibody titers. An example of a dosing regime would be day 1, 1 month, a third dose at either 4, 6 or 12 months, and additional booster doses at distant times as needed.

EXAMPLES

Examples are provided below further illustrating different features of the pr&sent invention. The examples also illustrate useful methodology for practicing the invention. Ttiese examples do not limit the claimed invention.

Example 1: Protective Immunity

This example illustrates the ability of SEQ ID NO: 1 related polypeptides to provide protective immunity in an animal model. SEQ ID NO: 2, a His-tagged derivative of SEQ ID NO: 1, was used to provide protective immunity.

SEQ ID NO: 2 Cloning and Expression

The protein encoded by COL S A0452 was designed to be expressed from th& pETlβb vector (EMD Biosciences, Madison, WI) with the N-terminal histidine residues and the stop codon encoded by the vector. Also encoded by the vector are nine additional amino aci ds after the histidine tag and three additional amino acids at the carboxyl terminus. PCR primeαrs were designed to amplify COL SA0452 starting at the first serine codon and ending prior to the stop codon at the terminal isoleucine residue. The forward and reverse primers were: 5'GGGAATTCCATATGTCATTAATTAACAAAGAAATCTTACCS' (SEQ ID NO: 7) and 5'GGGCTCAGCGATTTTACCTACTAAATCTAAACCAGS' (SEQ ID NO: 11), respectively and contained additional restriction sites (underlined), i.e., Ndel (forward primer) and Bpull 0211 (reverse primer) and a GC clamp to facilitate cloning into the expression vector.

Genomic DNA was purified from S. aureus COL strain MB5393 and used as template for PCR. A 50-mL culture was grown overnight in Difco Tryptic Soy Broth (Bectoαi Dickinson, Sparks, MD) at 37° C and the cells were collected by centrifugation. The cells were washed once in 5 niL of 10 niM Tris pH 7.5, 25% sucrose and resuspended in the same solution containing 50 μg/mL lysostaphin (Sigma, St. Louis, MO). The mixture was incubated at 37° C for 1 hour and subsequently, 2.5 mL of 0.25 M EDTA pH 8.0 was added. After incubation for 15 minutes on ice, 7.5 mL 2% sarkosyl was added and the mixture was swirled gently and allowed to sit for 30 more minutes on ice. One-hundred fifty μL RNAse, 5 mg/mL in 0.1 M sodium acetate, was added and the mixture was incubated for one hour at 37° C . Next, 0.6 ΠQL proteinase K, 25 mg/mL, was added and the incubation was continued for 2 hours followed t>y an overnight incubation at 4° C. The lysate was extracted with 15 mL water-saturated phenol by gentle rotation for 30 minutes at room temperature.

To separate phases the mixture was centrifuged at 4,000 rpm for 10 minutes at room temperature. The aqueous phase was collected and the phenol extraction was repeated two more times. Next, the aqueous phase was extracted ten times with an equal volume of chloroform. After the last extraction, the aqueous phase was collected, the volume was measured, and one half volume 7.5 M ammonium acetate was added.

The DNA was precipitated by adding two volumes of 100% ethanol and collected by spooling with a glass rod. The DNA was dissolved in 5.0 mL TE containing 4 μL diethylpyrocarbonate overnight at 4° C. The ethanol precipitations were repeated two more times.

The ahpC gene was amplified by PCR in a 50 μL volume reaction prepared in duplicate. Each contained 250 ng genomic DNA, 125 ng each forward and reverse primer, 1 microliter 10 mM dNTPs, 2.5 units of native Pfu polymerase and IX Pfu buffer (Stratagene, La Jolla CA). The thermacycllng conditions were as follows: one cycle of 94° C for 5 minutes; 30 cycles of 94° C for 45 seconds, 56° C for 45 seconds, 72° C for one minute; one cycle of 72° C for 10 minutes. The amplified DNA sequence (584 bp) was digested with the appropriate restriction enzymes and gel-purified using Gene Clean π® (QBIOgene, Carlsbad, CA) accordixig to the manufacturer's directions. The DNA was ligated into the pETlβb vector using the Ndel/Bpul 1021 sites that had been engineered into the PCR primers and introduced into E. coli NovaBlue competent cells (EMD Biosciences).

The transformation mixture was grown overnight at 37° C on low salt Lennox L Broth agar plates containing 1OO μg/mL each ampicillin, IPTG, and X-gal, prepared using imMedia™ Amp Agar (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA), according to the manufacturer's instructions. Colonies were selected and grown in Luria Broth (LB) with 50 μg/mL ampicillin, DNA minipreps were made (Promega), and the appropriate insert was determined by restriction endonuclease digestion. The plasmid DNA from two minipreps was sequenced, and a clone containing no DNA changes from the desired sequence was selected and designated pAhpC5.

E. coli BLR (DE3) competent cells (EMD Biosciences) were transformed with pAhpC5 and grown on LB plates containing ampicillin (100 μg/mL). To test for expression of ahpC, an isolated colony was inoculated into 5 mL of liquid LB (ampicillin) and incubated at 37° C, 220 rpm for 6 hours. The culture was held overnight at 4° C and inoculated the next day into 20.0 mL LB broth (ampicillin) such that the starting OD6oo equaled 0.02. The culture was incubated at 37° C, 220 rpm for four hours to an OD6oo=0.8. Induction of expression was compared at three different temperatures. Forty-five microliters of 100 mM IPTG was added to three 4.5 mL culture volumes (final IPTG concentration of 1 mM) and incubated at 37° C for 3 hours, and 25° C or 18° C for 24 hours, all with shaking at 220 rpm. For lysate preparation, 1.5 mL and 1.0 mL culture volume from uninduced and induced cultures, respectively, were collected by centrifugation and resuspended in 300 μL of BugBuster HT (EMD Sciences) and 3 μL Proteinase Inhibitor Cocktail (Sigma, St. Louis, MO). The mixtures were held on ice for 5 minutes and subsequently sonicated three times for ten seconds each with cooling in between. To obtain "soluble" and "insoluble" fractions the mixture was centrifuged at 14,000 rpm for five minutes at 4° C. The supernatant was designated "soluble" and the pellet was resuspended in 300 μL of BugBuster HT and 3 μL Proteinase Inhibitor Cocktail and designated "insoluble". Protein concentration was determined by the BIO-RAD Protein Assay Dye Reagent system (BIO- RAD, Hercules, CA) according to the manufacturer's instructions.

For analysis of expression of ahpC (encoded by SEQ ID NO: 3) by Coomassie staining of SDS-PAGE gels, samples were subjected to electrophoresis on 4-15 % gradient Tris- HCl Criterion gels (BIO-RAD) in IX Tris glycine SDS buffer (BIO-RAD) under reducing and denaturing conditions. To estimate protein size, standards between 15 and 250 kDa (BIO-RAD) were run in parallel with the lysates. The gels were stained with Bio-Safe Coomassie, a Coomassie G250 stain (BIO-RAD) according to the manufacturer's protocol.

A 24-kDa protein was specifically detected in lysates prepared from samples induced at all three temperature. Good expression was obtained at all three temperatures with ahpC localizing to both the soluble and insoluble fraction. Induction at 25 °C was the optimal temperature for producing soluble ahpC.

SEQ ID NO: 2 Purification

Direct scale-up of the above small scale procedure into stirred tank fermenters (30 liter scale) with a 20 liter working volume was- achieved. Inoculum was cultivated in a 250 niL flask containing 50 mL of Luria-Bertani (LB) medium (plus ampicillin) and inoculated with 1 mL of frozen seed culture and cultivated for 6 hours. One mL of this seed was used to inoculate a 2 liter flask containing 500 mL of LB medium (plus ampicillin) and incubated for 16 hours. A large scale fermenter (30 liter scale) was cultivated with 20 liters of LB medium (plus ampicillin). The fermentation parameters of th.e fermenter were: pressure = 5 psig, agitation speed = 300 rpms, airflow = 7.5 liters/minute and temperature = 37 C. Cells were incubated to an optical density (OD) of 1.3 optical density units, at a wavelength of 600 nm, and induced with Isopropyl-/?-K-Thiogalactoside (IPTG) at a concentration of 1 mM. Induction time with IPTG was two hours. Cells were harvested by lowering the temperature to 15° C, concentrated by passage through a 500KMWCO hollow fiber cartridge, and centrifuged at 8,000 times gravity at 4 C for 20 minutes. Supernatants were decanted and the recombinant E. coli wet cell pellets were frozen at -70° C.

Frozen recombinant E. coli cell paste (24 grams) was thawed and resuspended in two volumes of Lysis Buffer (50 mM sodium phosphate, pH 8.0, 0.15 M NaCl, 2 mM magnesium chloride, 10 mM imidazole, 20 mM 2-mercaptoethanol, 0.1% Tween-80, and protease inhibitor cocktail (Complete™, EDTA-.-Free, Roche # 1873580-one tablet per 50 mL Lysis Buffer). Benzonase (EM #1.01697.0002> was added to the cell suspension at 125 Uhits/mL). A lysate was prepared with a microfluidizer. The Lysate was stirred for three hours at 4 ° C, and was clarified by centrifugation at 10,000 x g for 10 minutes at 4 C. The supernatant was filtered through a glass-fiber pre-filter Millipore and NaCl was added to a final concentration of 0.5 M from a 5 M stock solution. The Filtered Supernatant was added to Ni- NTA agarose chromatography resin (Qiagen #30250) and the slurry was mixed overnight at 4 C- The slurry of chromatography resin was poured into a chromatography column and the non- bound fraction was collected by gravity from the column outlet. The column was washed with ten column volumes of Wash Buffer (50 mM sodium phosphate, pH 8.0, 0.5 M NaCl, 2 mM magnesium chloride, 10 mM imidazole, 20 rrϋvl 2-mercaptoethanol, 0.1% Tween-80, and protease inhibitor cocktail (Complete™, EDTA-Free, Roche # 1873580-one tablet per 50 mL Wash Buffer). The column was eluted with Elution Buffer (50 mM sodium phosphate, pH 7.4, 0.3 M imidazole, 2 mM magnesium chloride, 0. 1% Tween-80, and 20 mM 2-mercaptoethanol). Fractions containing protein were identified by dot blot on nitrocellulose membrane with Ponceau-S staining, and fractions containing the highest protein concentrations were pooled to make the Ni-IMAC Product. The Ni-MAC Product was fractionated by SEC. SEC fractions containing the product protein were identified by SDS/PAGE with Coomassie staining. Product- containing SEC fractions were pooled to make the SEC Product. The SEC Product was sterile- filtered and adsorbed on aluminum hydroxyphosphate adjuvant at a final concentration of 0.2 mg/mL.

Preparation of S. aureus Challenge

S. aureus was grown on TSA plates at 37° C overnight. The bacteria were washed from the TSA plates by adding 5 mL of PBS onto a plate and gently resuspending the bacteria with a sterile spreader. The bacterial suspension was spun at 6000 rpm for 20 minutes using a Sorvall RC-5B centrifuge (DuPont Instruments). The pellet was resuspended in 16% glycerol and aliquots were stored frozen at -70° C.

Prior to use, inocula were thawed, appropriately diluted and used for infection. Each stock was titrated at least 3 times to determine the appropriate dose inducing slow kinetics of death in naive mice. The potency of the bacterial inoculum (80 to 90% lethality) was constantly monitored to assure reproducibility of the model. Ten days before each challenge experiment, a group of 10 control animals (immunized with adjuvant alone) were challenged and monitored.

Protection Studies for a SEQ ID NO: 2 Polypeptide

In two independent experiments, twenty B ALB/c mice each were immunized with three doses of SEQ ID NO: 2 polypeptide (20 μg per injection) on aluminum hydroxyphosphate adjuvant (450 μg per injection), and 20 mice each were injected with Aluminum hydroxyphosphate adjuvant (450 μg per injection). Aluminum hydroxyphosphate adjuvant (AHP) is described by Klein et al, Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 89: 311-321, 2000. The materials were administered as two 50 μL intramuscular injections on days 0, 7 and 21. The mice were bled on day 28, and their sera were screened by ELISA for reactivity to SEQ ID NO: 2.

On day 35 of each experiment the mice were challenged by intravenous injection of S. aureus (dose 7 X 10 CFU/mL). The mice were monitored over a ll day period for survival. At the end of the first experiment 12 mice survived in the SEQ ID NO: 2 polypeptide immunized group, compared to 5 surviving in the AHP control group. The results are illustrated in Figure 6A. In the second experiment 11 mice survived in the SEQ ID NO: 2 polypeptide immunized group, compared to 7 surviving in the AHP control group. The results are illustrated in Figure 6B.

Other embodiments are within the following claims. While several embodiments have been shown and described, various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A polypeptide immunogen comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 or to a fragment of SEQ ED NO: 1, wherein said polypeptide provides protective immunity against S. aureus, and wherein said polypeptide immunogen is not the polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 1.

2. The polypeptide of claim 1, wherein said amino acid sequence comprises amino acids 178-189 of SEQ ID NO: 1.

3. The polypeptide of claim 2, wherein said amino acid sequence is at least 95% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1.

4. The polypeptide of claim 3, wherein said polypeptide consists of amino acids 22-213 of SEQ ID NO: 2.

5. The polypeptide of claim 3, wherein said polypeptide is substantially purified.

6. An immunogen comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ π> NO: 1 and one or more additional regions moieties covalently joined to said amino acid sequence at the carboxyl terminus or amino terminus, wherein each region or moiety is independently selected from a region or moiety having at least one of the following properties: enhances the immune response, facilitates purification, or facilitates polypeptide stability.

7. A purified immunogen comprising a polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 and a polypeptide at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 3.

8. A composition able to induce a protective immune response in a patient comprising an immunologically effective amount of the immunogen of any one of claims 1-7 and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier.

9. The composition of claim 8, wherein said composition further comprises an adjuvant. 10. A nucleic acid comprising a recombinant gene comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the polypeptide of any one of claims 1-5.

11. The nucleic acid of claim 10, wherein said nucleic acid is an expression vector.

12. A recombinant cell comprising a recombinant gene comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding the polypeptide of any one of claims 1-5.

13. A method of making a S. aureus polypeptide that provides protective immunity comprising the steps of:

(a) growing the recombinant cell of claim 12 under conditions wherein said polypeptide is expressed; and

(b) purifying said polypeptide.

14. An isolated binding protein comprising a variable region that binds to the immunogen of claim 7.

15. The binding protein of claim 14, wherein said binding protein is produced by a method comprising the steps of:

(a) (1) using said immunogen to select for said binding protein; or (a)(2) using said immunogen to induce production of said binding protein: and

(b) substantially purifying said antigen binding protein.

16. The binding protein of claim 15, wherein said binding protein is an antibody or comprises an antibody fragment.

17. A method of treating a patient against S. aureus infection comprising the step of administering to said patient one or more of the following:

(a) an immunologically effective amount of an immunogen comprising an amino acid sequence at least 85% identical to SEQ ID NO: 1 or a fragment of SEQ ID NO: 1, wherein said polypeptide provides protective immunity against 5. aureus:

(b) an immunologically effective amount of the immunogen of any one of claims 1-7; or

(c) an effective amount of the binding protein of claim 14. 18. The method of claim 17, wherein said patient is a human.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein said patient is treated prophylactically against S. aureus infection.

20. The method of claim 18, wherein said immunogen is the immunogen of any one of claims 1-7.


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