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Vaccines for Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Realistic Goal?

P. Frederick Sparling, Christopher Elkins, Priscilla B. Wyrick and Myron S. Cohen
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 91, No. 7 (Mar. 29, 1994), pp. 2456-2463
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2364253
Page Count: 8
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Vaccines for Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Realistic Goal?
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Abstract

Bacterial infections of the genital tract (gonorrhea, chlamydia, chancroid, syphilis) are common and cause significant morbidity. Their importance is heightened by recent appreciation of their roles in facilitation of transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Each is capable of causing repeated infections, suggesting lack of permanent broadly effective immunity. An effective vaccine has yet to be developed for any of these diseases. Rapid progress in understanding the molecular basis for pathogenesis of infection, including mechanisms for escape from otherwise effective immune surveillance and mechanisms for causing injury to host cells, has stimulated renewed efforts to make vaccines for some of these infections. Progress has been greatest for Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Chlamydia trachomatis. Present emphasis is on the major or principal outer membrane proteins of N. gonorrhoeae and C. trachomatis, based on evidence for neutralizing antibodies directed against surface-exposed variable domains of each of these proteins. Other surface-exposed proteins, including the iron-repressible transferrin receptor in gonococci and certain heat-shock proteins in chlamydia, also may be targets for vaccines. Although much remains to be learned, cautious optimism is warranted.

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