An eight-plex immunoassay for Group A streptococcus serology and vaccine development

Alana L. Whitcombe, Franklin Han, Sonia M. McAlister, Lea Ann S. Kirkham, Paul G. Young, Stephen R. Ritchie, Polly Atatoa Carr, Thomas Proft, Nicole J. Moreland

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a major human pathogen responsible for superficial infections through to life-threatening invasive disease and the autoimmune sequelae acute rheumatic fever (ARF). Despite a significant global economic and health burden, there is no licensed vaccine available to prevent GAS disease. Several pre-clinical vaccines that target conserved GAS antigens are in development. Assays that measure antigen-specific antibodies are essential for vaccine research. The aim of this study was to develop a multiplex beadbased immunoassay that can detect and quantify antibody responses to multiple GAS antigen targets in small volume blood samples. This builds on our existing triplex assay comprised of antigens used in clinical serology for the diagnosis of ARF (SLO, DNase B and SpnA). Five additional conserved putative GAS vaccine antigens (Spy0843, SCPA, SpyCEP, SpyAD and the Group A carbohydrate), were coupled to spectrally unique beads to form an 8-plex antigen panel. After optimisation of the assay protocol, standard curves were generated, and assessments of assay specificity, precision and reproducibility were conducted. A broad range of antibody (IgG) titres were able to be quickly and accurately quantified from a single serum dilution. Assay utility was assessed using a panel of 62 clinical samples including serum from adults with GAS bacteraemia and children with ARF. Circulating IgG to all eight antigens was elevated in patients with GAS disease (n = 23) compared to age-matched controls (n = 39) (P < 0.05). The feasibility of using dried blood samples to quantify antigen-specific IgG was also demonstrated. In summary, a robust and reproducible 8-plex assay has been developed that simultaneously quantifies IgG antibodies to GAS vaccine and diagnostic antigens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113194
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


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