• The role of the NadR regulator during infection and its implication for the coverage of a new Meningococcus B vaccine
  • Fagnocchi, Luca <1984>


  • BIO/11 Biologia molecolare


  • Background: Neisseria meningitides represents a major cause of meningitis and sepsis. The meningococcal regulator NadR was previously shown to repress the expression of the Neisserial Adhesin A (NadA) and play a major role in its phase-variation. NadA is a surface exposed protein involved in epithelial cell adhesion and colonization and a major component of 4CMenB, a novel vaccine to prevent meningococcus serogroup B infection. The NadR mediated repression of NadA is attenuated by 4-HPA, a natural molecule released in human saliva. Results: In this thesis we investigated the global role of NadR during meningogoccal infection, identifying through microarray analysis the NadR regulon. Two distinct types of NadR targets were identified, differing in their promoter architectures and 4HPA responsive activities: type I are induced, while type II are co-repressed in response to the same 4HPA signal. We then investigate the mechanism of regulation of NadR by 4-HPA, generating NadR mutants and identifying classes or residues involved in either NadR DNA binding or 4HPA responsive activities. Finally, we studied the impact of NadR mediated repression of NadA on the vaccine coverage of 4CMenB. A selected MenB strains is not killed by sera from immunized infants when the strain is grown in vitro, however, in an in vivo passive protection model, the same sera protected infant rats from bacteremia. Finally, using bioluminescent reporters, nadA expression in the infant rat model was induced in vivo at 3 h post-infection. Conclusions: Our results suggest that NadR coordinates a broad transcriptional response to signals present in the human host, enabling the meningococcus to adapt to the relevant host niche. During infectious disease the effect of the same signal on NadR changes between different targets. In particular NadA expression is induced in vivo, leading to efficient killing of meningococcus by anti-NadA antibodies elicited by the 4CMenB vaccine.


  • 2013-04-22


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Fagnocchi, Luca (2013) The role of the NadR regulator during infection and its implication for the coverage of a new Meningococcus B vaccine , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare, molecolare e industriale/cellular, molecular and industrial biology: progetto n. 2 Biologia funzionale dei sistemi cellulari e molecolari , 25 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/5655.