Intra-genomic variation in the uspA1 and uspA2 genes of Moraxella catarrhalis was studied using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis. From a set of 91 M. catarrhalis isolates, 19 pairs of PFGE identical isolates were found. Five pairs originated from otitis non-prone children, 11 pairs from otitis prone children and for 3 pairs, one of the pair originated from an otitis prone and the other from an otitis non-prone child. No particular M. catarrhalis isolate was associated with either the otitis prone or non-prone children. One of these 19 pairs of isolates was found to exhibit both uspA1 and uspA2 intra-genomic variation, whilst another pair exhibited uspA2 intra-genomic variation only. Sequence data obtained from these variants showed that PCR-RFLP pattern differences reflected actual changes in predicted amino acid composition and that minor amino acid changes in a 23 base pair "NINNIY" repeat region (a conserved UspA1 and UspA2 binding site for the neutralising antibody mAb17C7) occurred. Variation in the uspA2 5' non-coding "AGAT" repeat region was also observed. These results may have implications for future M. catarrhalis vaccines comprising UspA1 or UspA2 components.

Intra-genomic variation, Moraxella catarrhalis, uspA1, uspA2,
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Hays, J.P, van der Schee, C, Loogman, A, Eadie, K, Verduin, C.M, Faden, H, … van Belkum, A.F. (2003). Total genome polymorphism and low frequency of intra-genomic variation in the uspA1 and uspA2 genes of Moraxella catarrhalis in otitis prone and non-prone children up to 2 years of age: Consequences for vaccine design?. Vaccine, 21(11-12), 1118–1124. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(02)00522-4