Screen to Identify Pneumococcal Proteins that Inhibit Transmission Rather than Invasive Disease (SJ-18-0045)

St. Jude Reference #SJ-18-0045


Streptococcus pneumoniae success is based on the capacity to successfully transmit and colonize new human hosts, causing pneumonia, acute otitis media, and bacteremia. The bacterial factors underlying this process remained largely unknown until researchers at St. Jude used a high-throughput genetic screen leveraging a ferret transmission model revealed bacterial factors required for transmission, revealing key players in both metabolism and transcriptional regulation that drive this process. Maternal vaccination with confirmed transmission factors effectively blocked transmission in offspring to a greater degree than capsule-based vaccines. These data underscore the possibility of targeting pneumococcal transmission as a means of eliminating invasive disease in the population.

Current vaccines do not block the transmission and initial acquisition of the bacterium. By blocking this stage of the infectious process, we are essentially blocking the ability of the organism to cause the initial colonization event during transmission. Current vaccines work poorly against this process and the researchers used the screen to develop protein-based vaccines for this process better than existing vaccines.


Streptococcus pneumoniae, high-throughput genetic screen, transmission, vaccine

Granted Patents or Published Applications

Patents are pending in Hong Kong, South Korea, EU, Japan, Australia, Brazil, China, and US; with the US application published as US-2022-0378896-A1

Related Scientific References

Rowe HM, Karlsson E, Chang TC, Opijnen T, Pounds SB, Schultz-Cherry S, Rosch JW.  Bacterial Factors Required for Transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae in Mammalian Hosts,” Cell, 6(25): 884-891; 2019.

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