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Epidemiol Infect. Aug 1995; 115(1): 71–78.
PMCID: PMC2271561

Molecular characterization of a virulence-associated epitope on the lipopolysaccharide of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1.


For identification of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-associated epitopes of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1, LPS of strain Philadelphia 1 was investigated using monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). The O-specific chain of LPS is a homopolymer of 5-acetamidino-7-acetamido-8-O-acetyl-3,5,7,9-tetradeoxy-D-glycero- L-galacto- nonulosonic acid. At least four immunoaccessible epitopes were recognized by different MAbs on the intact LPS. After O-deacetylation of LPS, the reactivity of one of the MAbs (MAb 3/1) was lost, indicating thus that the corresponding epitope is associated with the 8-O-acetyl group. Since the reactivity pattern of the MAb 3/1 is identical with those of the MAb 2 which was considered as a virulence marker for serogroup 1, this epitope may be involved in mediating virulence in L. pneumophila. Four MAbs specific to strains of serogroup 1 other than the monoclonal subtype Philadelphia recognized epitopes on the O-deacetylated LPS of strain Philadelphia 1 and, therefore, the virulence-associated epitope blocks recognition of the immunodeterminants that are accessible on the intact LPS of the strains lacking this epitope.

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