Differences between culture & non-culture confirmed invasive meningococci with a focus on factor H-binding protein distribution

Stephen A. Clark*, Aiswarya Lekshmi, Jay Lucidarme, Li Hao, How Tsao, Lisa Lee-Jones, Kathrin U. Jansen, Lynne S. Newbold, Annaliesa S. Anderson, Raymond Borrow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To compare the distribution of capsular groups and factor H-binding protein (fHBP) variants among meningococcal isolates and non-culture clinical specimens and to assess the representativeness of group B isolates amongst group B cases as a whole. Methods: A PCR sequencing assay was used to characterise fHBP from non-culture cases confirmed from January 2011 to December 2013. These were compared to genotypic data derived from whole genome analysis of isolates received during the same period. Results: Group W and Y strains were more common among isolates than non-culture strains. The distribution of fHBP variants among group B non-culture cases generally reflected that seen in the corresponding isolates. Nonetheless, the non-culture subset contained a greater proportion of fHBP variant 15/B44, associated with the ST-269 cluster sublineage. Conclusions: Differences in capsular group and fHBP distribution among culture and non-culture cases may be indicative of variation in strain viability, diagnostic practice, disease severity and/or clinical presentation. Future analyses combining clinical case information with laboratory data may help to further explore these differences. Group B isolates provide a good representation of group B disease in E&W and, therefore, can reliably be used in fHBP strain coverage predictions of recently-licensed vaccines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the work performed in this publication was provided by Pfizer Inc . This publication made use of the Neisseria Multi Locus Sequence Typing website ( http://pubmlst.org/neisseria/ ) developed by Keith Jolley and sited at the University of Oxford. 35 The development of this site has been funded by the Wellcome Trust and European Union . This study also made use of the Meningitis Research Foundation Meningococcus Genome Library ( http://www.meningitis.org/research/genome ) funded by Meningitis Research Foundation and developed by Public Health England, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Oxford as a collaboration. The authors would like to thank Dr Steve Gray of the Meningococcal Reference Unit for his valuable assistance in collecting many of the DNA extracts and clinical specimens used in this study. DNA extraction and data collection was conducted by Public Health England, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, United Kingdom. KUJ, ASA and RB contributed to the conception and design of the study. SAC and AL carried out data collection. SAC, AL, JL, LH, HT, LLJ, KUJ, LSN, ASA and RB contributed to data analysis and interpretation as well as writing and/or revising the manuscript.


  • DNA sequencing
  • Factor H-binding protein
  • Meningococcal vaccines
  • Neisseria meningitidis


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