Group leader: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Professor, Ph.D.)
Members: Annika Lundquist (Ph.D.), Karin Ahlman (Technician), Margareta Romanik (MD. Ph.D.)

Sexually transmitted infections (STI) are a major problem of public health all over the world. In developing countries those infections facilitate transmission of HIV. To decrease the STI in developing countries is an tlimportant task to slow down HIV epidemic.

The aims of our research is focused on bacteria causing sexually transmitted infections in developing countries, such as Haemophilus ducreyi, Chlamydia trachomatis lymphogranuloma venerum serovars, and on pathogenic mechanisms, virulence factors and protective immunity involved in infection. The long term goal is to develop experimental vaccine inducing protective immunity in the genital tract to the most common bacterial genital pathogens based on bacterial proteins and protein-polysaccharide conjugates. H. ducreyi cytolethal distending toxin (HdCDT), C. trachomatis major outer membrane proteins and later protective antigens from relevant STI pathogens are considers as carriers for the oligosaccharide part of lipoolysaccharide and as vaccine component. Out research focuses on detoxification of HdCDT using molecular and chemical methods to produce an immunogenic and stabile toxoid. The detoxified lipooligosaccharide of H. ducreyi is used to study different methods to bind covalently a short oligosaccharide to carrier protein. We study carbohydrate epitope specificity, biological activity of antibodies to LOS and immunogenicity of conjugates. The developed vaccines candidates will be used to study the induction of protective immunity in genital tract of animals after different routes of immunization and with different adjuvants. The contribution of humoral and cell-mediated immunity to protection and combination of different vaccines will be evaluated in animal models.

Studies concerning laboratory diagnosis and prevalence of STI in developing countries are carried out in collaboration with Muhimbili Medical Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the evaluation of diagnostic methods for Chlamydia and immunity to Chlamydia infections is carried out in collaboration with the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Medical academy in Katowice, Poland.

Important publications
Ahmed H, Mbwana J, Gunnarsson E, Ahlman K, Guerino Ch, Svensson L, Mhalu F, and Lagergård T. (2003) Etiology of genital ulcers disease and association of human immunodeficiency virus infection in two Tanzanian cities. Sex Transm Dis. 30:114-119.

Wising C, Azem J, M Zetterberg, Svensson L, Ahlman K and Lagergård T. (2005) Induction of apoptosis and necrosis by Haemophilus ducreyi cytolethal distending toxin in different human cells. Toxicon. 45: 767-776.

Mbwana J, Bölin I, Luamuya E, Mhalu F and Lagergård T. (2006) Molecular characterization of Haemophilus ducreyi from different geographic locations. J Clin Microb. 44:132-137.