Despite high vaccine coverage, pertussis cases in the United States have increased over the last decade. Growing evidence suggests that disease resurgence results, in part, from genetic divergence of circulating strain populations away from vaccine references. The United States employs acellular vaccines exclusively, and current Bordetella pertussis isolates are predominantly deficient in at least one immunogen, pertactin (Prn). First detected in the United States retrospectively in a 1994 isolate, the rapid spread of Prn deficiency is likely vaccine driven, raising concerns about whether other acellular vaccine immunogens experience similar pressures, as further antigenic changes could potentially threaten vaccine efficacy. We developed an electrochemiluminescent antibody capture assay to monitor the production of the acellular vaccine immunogen filamentous hemagglutinin (Fha). Screening 722 U.S. surveillance isolates collected from 2010 to 2016 identified two that were both Prn and Fha deficient. Three additional Fha-deficient laboratory strains were also identified from a historic collection of 65 isolates dating back to 1935. Whole-genome sequencing of deficient isolates revealed putative, underlying genetic changes. Only four isolates harbored mutations to known genes involved in Fha production, highlighting the complexity of its regulation. The chromosomes of two Fha-deficient isolates included unexpected structural variation that did not appear to influence Fha production. Furthermore, insertion sequence disruption of fhaB was also detected in a previously identified pertussis toxin-deficient isolate that still produced normal levels of Fha. These results demonstrate the genetic potential for additional vaccine immunogen deficiency and underscore the importance of continued surveillance of circulating B. pertussis evolution in response to vaccine pressure. Copyright © 2018 American Society for Microbiology.
Journal: Infection and immunity