Although current IPD rates are lower than
those observed in the pre-vaccine period, recent reports have shown an increase in IPD caused by non-vaccine serotypes in the USA . In Spain, since the introduction of PCV7, IPD rates due to PCV7 serotypes check details have decreased in both children and adults, but this improvement has been counterbalanced by an increase in IPD due to non-PCV7 serotypes [11, 12]. Currently, two new conjugated vaccines are under development – 10-valent and the 13-valent vaccines, which both contain some emerging serotypes . Alternative vaccines are also being evaluated, such as those based on pneumococcal virulence proteins. Many pneumococcal proteins have been investigated as vaccine candidates, for instance, pneumolysin, PsaA, PspC, and PspA [13, 14]. The pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) is an important virulence factor which interferes with complement deposition on the pneumococcal surface  and is detected in almost all pneumococci [16–18]. It is highly immunogenic and protective and has proved to be highly cross-reactive both in various animal models [15, 19, 20] and in humans . It is hypothesized that a PspA-based vaccine could protect against invasive disease and also eliminate the carrier state [15–22]. PspA is constituted
by five 3-mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase domains: a signal peptide, SAHA HDAC chemical structure a α-helical charged domain which includes a clade-defining region, a proline-rich region, a choline-binding domain and a C-terminal domain . Although the PspA encoding gene (pspA) is highly genetically variable, the
classification by families is based on nucleotide and amino acid identity. Each of the three PspA families is subdivided into different clades: family 1 is composed by two clades (clade 1 and 2), family 2 comprises three clades (clades 3, 4 and 5), and PspA family 3 has only one divergent clade (clade 6) . The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of the PspA clades among a pneumococcal collection representative of major clones found in two previous studies among healthy children carriers  and patients with invasive disease . Methods Bacterial strains One hundred and twelve pneumococcal strains previously characterized by selleck chemicals pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) with SmaI restriction enzyme, as described elsewhere  and serotyped by Quellung reaction , were selected as follows: a) Forty-nine pneumococci isolated from adults with IPD in Barcelona (NorthEast of Spain) between 1997 and 2007 (Additional file 1). These 49 strains were representative of the 32 major genotypes found among 968 pneumococci causing IPD in adult patients in Barcelona .