Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of bacterial sepsis and meningitis in children. There are effective vaccines available to prevent meningococcal disease caused by strains expressing certain polysaccharide capsules. However, capsule-based approaches cannot be used against serogroup B N. meningitidis because its capsule is identical to a molecule found in the developing human brain. Therefore there have been intense efforts to identify protein antigens that provide protective immunity against this important human pathogen.
Meningococcal factor H binding protein (fHbp) is a surface lipoprotein that elicits serum bactericidal responses in mice and human volunteers. This antigen is a key component of Bexsero, a licensed vaccine for the prevention of meningococcal disease.