The S1 subunit of Pertussis toxin (PT) is responsible for the reactogenicity and in part the immunogenicity of Bordetella pertussis vaccine. The critical residues associated with the immunomodulatory effects of PT were located around Glu140 in the S1 subunit. In man, T cell responses to PT are directed at S1 peptides distinct from Glu140. Two such epitopes, p64-75 and p151-161, are immunogenic in a panel of individuals covering a wide range of HLA genotypes. The response to PT peptides is HLA class II restricted. The response to p64-75 is blocked by an anti-HLA-DQ mAb, while that to p151-161 is blocked by an anti-HLA-DR mAb. These findings may allow for the development of a B. pertussis vaccine free from reactogenicity.

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