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Department of Medicine, Division of Immunology and Infectious Diseases

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Immunology of Infectious Disease | Immunopathology | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Microbiology


MenB-4C (Bexsero; GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals) is a licensed meningococcal vaccine for capsular B strains. The vaccine contains detergent-extracted outer membrane vesicles (dOMV) and three recombinant proteins, of which one is factor H binding protein (FHbp). In previous studies, overexpression of FHbp in native OMV (NOMV) with genetically attenuated endotoxin (LpxL1) and/or by the use of mutant FHbp antigens with low factor H (FH) binding increased serum bactericidal antibody (SBA) responses. In this study, we immunized 13 infant macaques with 2 doses of NOMV with overexpressed mutant (R41S) FHbp with low binding to macaque FH (NOMV-FHbp). Control macaques received MenB-4C (n = 13) or aluminum hydroxide adjuvant alone (n = 4). NOMV-FHbp elicited a 2-fold higher IgG anti-FHbp geometric mean titer (GMT) than MenB-4C (P = 0.003), and the anti-FHbp repertoire inhibited binding of FH to FHbp, whereas anti-FHbp antibodies to MenB-4C enhanced FH binding. MenB-4C elicited a 10-fold higher GMT against strain NZ98/254, which was used to prepare the dOMV component, whereas NOMV-FHbp elicited an 8-fold higher GMT against strain H44/76, which was the parent of the mutant NOMV-FHbp vaccine strain. Against four strains with PorA mismatched to both of the vaccines and different FHbp sequence variants, NOMV-FHbp elicited 6- to 14-fold higher SBA GMTs than MenB-4C (P < /= 0.0002). Two of 13 macaques immunized with MenB-4C but 0 of 17 macaques immunized with NOMV-FHbp or adjuvant developed serum anti-FH autoantibodies (P = 0.18). Thus, the mutant NOMV-FHbp approach has the potential to elicit higher and broader SBA responses than a licensed group B vaccine that contains wild-type FHbp that binds FH. The mutant NOMV-FHbp also might pose less of a risk of eliciting anti-FH autoantibodies.IMPORTANCE There are two licensed meningococcal capsular B vaccines. Both contain recombinant factor H binding protein (FHbp), which can bind to host complement factor H (FH). The limitations of these vaccines include a lack of protection against some meningococcal strains and the potential to elicit autoantibodies to FH. We immunized infant macaques with a native outer membrane vesicle (NOMV) vaccine with genetically attenuated endotoxin and overproduced mutant FHbp with low binding to FH. The NOMV-FHbp vaccine stimulated higher levels of protective serum antibodies than a licensed meningococcal group B vaccine against five of six genetically diverse meningococcal strains tested. Two of 13 macaques immunized with the licensed vaccine, which contains FHbp that binds macaque FH, but 0 of 17 macaques given NOMV-FHbp or the negative control developed serum anti-FH autoantibodies Thus, in a relevant nonhuman primate model, the NOMV-FHbp vaccine elicited greater protective antibodies than the licensed vaccine and may pose less of a risk of anti-FH autoantibody.


Neisseria meningitidis, factor H binding protein, nonhuman primate, outer membrane vesicles, vaccines

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Copyright © 2019 Beernink et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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MBio. 2019 Jun 18;10(3). pii: mBio.01231-19. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01231-19. Link to article on publisher's site

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.