L. He, A.S. De Groot, and C. Bailey-Kellogg, "Hit-and-run, hit-and-stay, and commensal bacteria present different peptide content when viewed from the perspective of the T cell", Vaccines, 2015, 33:6922-6999. [pubmed]

Different types of bacteria face different pressures from the immune system, with those that persist ("hit-and-stay") potentially having to adapt more in order to escape than those prone to short-lived infection ("hit-and-run"), and with commensal bacteria potentially different from both due to additional physical mechanisms for avoiding immune detection. The Janus Immunogenicity Score (JIS) was recently developed to assess the likelihood of T cell recognition of an antigen, using an analysis that considers both binding of a peptide within the antigen by major histocompatability complex (MHC) and recognition of the peptide:MHC complex by cognate T cell receptor (TCR). This score was shown to be predictive of T effector vs. T regulatory or null responses in experimental data, as well as to distinguish viruses representative of the hit-and-stay vs. hit-and-run phenotypes. Here, JIS-based analyses were conducted in order to characterize the extent to which the pressure to avoid T cell recognition is manifested in genomic differences among representative hit-and-run, hit-and-stay, and commensal bacteria. Overall, extracellular proteins were found to have different JIS profiles from cytoplasmic ones. Contrasting the bacterial groups, extracellular proteins were shown to be quite different across the groups, much more so than intracellular proteins. The differences were evident even at the level of corresponding peptides in homologous protein pairs from hit-and-run and hit-and-stay bacteria. The multi-level analysis of patterns of immunogenicity across different groups of bacteria provides a new way to approach questions of bacterial immune camouflage or escape, as well as to approach the selection and optimization of candidates for vaccine design.