Whooping cough, caused by Bordetella pertussis, remains a major global health problem. Each year around 40 million of pertussiscases resulting in 200,000-400,000 annual deaths occur worldwide. Pertussis toxin is a major virulence factor of B. pertussis. Murine studies have shown its importance in bacterial colonization and in immunomodulation to evade innate or adaptive immunity. The toxin is composed of an A protomer expressing ADP-ribosyltransferase activity and a B oligomer, responsible for toxin binding to target cells. The toxin is also a major protective antigen in all currently available vaccines. However, vaccine escape mutants with altered toxin expression have recently been isolated in countries with high vaccination coverage illustrating the need for improved pertussis vaccines.
Journal:Future Microbiol. 2015