The current problem of increasing antibiotic resistance and the resurgence of numerous infections indicate the need for novel vaccination strategies more than ever. In vaccine development, the search for and the selection of adequate vaccine antigens is the first important step. In recent years, bacterial outer membrane proteins have become of major interest, as they are the main proteins interacting with the extracellular environment. Trimeric autotransporter adhesins (TAAs) are important virulence factors in many Gram-negative bacteria, are localised on the bacterial surface, and mediate the first adherence to host cells in the course of infection. One example is the Neisseria adhesin A (NadA), which is currently used as a subunit in a licensed vaccine against Neisseria meningitidis. Other TAAs that seem promising vaccine candidates are the Acinetobacter trimeric autotransporter (Ata), the Haemophilus influenzae adhesin (Hia), and TAAs of the genus Bartonella. Here, we review the suitability of various TAAs as vaccine candidates.
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