is the etiological agent of tetanus, a life-threatening bacterial infection. The most efficient protection strategy against tetanus is a vaccination with the C. tetani
neurotoxin, which is inactivated by formaldehyde-crosslinking. Since we assumed that besides the tetanus toxin, other proteins of C. tetani
may also be present in toxoid preparations, we analyzed commercially available vaccines from different countries in respect to their protein content using mass spectrometry. In total 991 proteins could be identified in all five analyzed vaccines, 206 proteins were common in all analyzed vaccines and 54 proteins from the 206 proteins were potential antigens. The additionally present proteins may contribute at least partially to protection against C. tetani
infection by supporting the function of the vaccine against the devastating effects of the tetanus toxin indirectly. Two different label-free protein quantification methods were applied for an estimation of protein contents. Similar results were obtained with a Total Protein Approach (TPA)-based method and Protein Discoverer 2.2 software package based on the minora algorithm. Depending on the tetanus toxoid vaccine and the quantification method used, tetanus neurotoxin contributes between 14 and 76 % to the total C. tetani
protein content and varying numbers of other C. tetani
proteins were detected.
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