Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 37944493
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.chom.2023.10.007
Cell Host Microbe 2023 Nov; 31(11): 1866-1881.e10
The commensal microflora provides a repertoire of antigens that illicit mucosal antibodies. In some cases, these antibodies can cross-react with host proteins, inducing autoimmunity, or with other microbial antigens. We demonstrate that the oral microbiota can induce salivary anti-SARS-CoV-2 Spike IgG antibodies via molecular mimicry. Anti-Spike IgG antibodies in the saliva correlated with enhanced abundance of Streptococcus salivarius 1 month after anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Several human commensal bacteria, including S. salivarius, were recognized by SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies and induced cross-reactive anti-Spike antibodies in mice, facilitating SARS-CoV-2 clearance. A specific S. salivarius protein, RSSL-01370, contains regions with homology to the Spike receptor-binding domain, and immunization of mice with RSSL-01370 elicited anti-Spike IgG antibodies in the serum. Additionally, oral S. salivarius supplementation enhanced salivary anti-Spike antibodies in vaccinated individuals. Altogether, these data show that distinct species of the human microbiota can express molecular mimics of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein, potentially enhancing protective immunity.