[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/102599]
Prof Michael Jennings
Brief description Meningococcal meningitis is a devastating illness which mostly affects children under 5 years. The clinical presentation is of a rapidly progressing disease with high rates of morbidity and mortality. This disease is caused by a bacterium, Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus). Vaccines are available against serogroup A and C strains of N. meningitidis, but not for group B strains, which cause the majority of disease in industrialised countries. We have recently identified a gene (designated hiaNm) which encodes a new protein which is located on the surface of the bacterium, in the outer membrane. There has been an enormous body of work done on the immunology, biochemistry and genetics of all components of the outer membrane of Neisseria meningitidis. Therefore the discovery of this novel protein provides an exciting opportunity to take a new direction in vaccine development. For an effective vaccine, the target molecule must be present in most strains; we have already shown that the hiaNm gene is present in all strains examined. In this proposal we describe a study of the vaccine potential and biological function of the hiaNm gene product HiaNm. We will express the protein at high levels, immunise mice, and produce antibodies against HiaNm to discover whether they can protect mice against meningococcal disease. At the completion of this set of experiments we will be in an excellent position to assess the potential for the further development of HiaNm as a component of a meningococcal vaccine.
Funding Amount $AUD 356,685.22
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant