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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 4, Issue 5, Pages 468-478
Primary research paper

Analysis of Known Bacterial Protein Vaccine Antigens Reveals Biased Physical Properties and Amino Acid Composition

Dstl, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, United Kingdom

Received 18 March 2003; Revised 24 July 2003; Accepted 28 July 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many vaccines have been developed from live attenuated forms of bacterial pathogens or from killed bacterial cells. However, an increased awareness of the potential for transient side-effects following vaccination has prompted an increased emphasis on the use of sub-unit vaccines, rather than those based on whole bacterial cells. The identification of vaccine sub-units is often a lengthy process and bioinformatics approaches have recently been used to identify candidate protein vaccine antigens. Such methods ultimately offer the promise of a more rapid advance towards preclinical studies with vaccines. We have compared the properties of known bacterial vaccine antigens against randomly selected proteins and identified differences in the make-up of these two groups. A computer algorithm that exploits these differences allows the identification of potential vaccine antigen candidates from pathogenic bacteria on the basis of their amino acid composition, a property inherently associated with sub-cellular location.