Antibody to pneumococcal surface protein A (PspA) has been shown to be protective for Streptococcus pneumoniae infections in mice. In an attempt to define a model for inducing protective antibody to PspA in the absence of adjuvant, we designed two genetic fusions, PspA-interleukin-2 [IL-2]) and PspA-granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). These constructs maintained high cytokine function in vitro, as tested by their activity on IL-2 or GM-CSF-dependent cell lines. While intranasal immunization with PspA induced no detectable anti-PspA response, both PspA-IL-2 and PspA-GM-CSF stimulated high immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibody responses. Interestingly, only the PspA-IL-2, not the PspA-GM-CSF, construct stimulated IgG2a antibody responses, suggesting that this construct directed the response along a TH1-dependent pathway. Comparable enhancement of the anti-PspA response with similar isotype profiles was observed after subcutaneous immunization as well. The enhancement observed with PspA-IL-2 was dependent on IL-2 activity in that it was not seen in IL-2 receptor knockout mice, while PspA in alum induced high-titer antibody in these mice. The antibody was tested for its protective activity in a mouse lethality model using S. pneumoniae WU-R2. Passive transfer of 190 dilutions of sera from mice immunized with PspA-IL-2 and PspA-GM-CSF elicited protection of CBA/N mice against intravenous challenge with over 170 50% lethal doses of capsular type 3 strain WU2. Only 0.17 microg or less of IgG antibody to PspA was able to provide passive protection against otherwise fatal challenge with S. pneumoniae. The data demonstrate that designing protein-cytokine fusions may be a useful approach for mucosal immunization and can induce high-titer systemic protective antibody responses.