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Infect Immun. Jan 1993; 61(1): 260–267.
PMCID: PMC302713

Expression of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis 19-kilodalton antigen in Mycobacterium smegmatis: immunological analysis and evidence of glycosylation.


The gene encoding a 19-kDa antigen from Mycobacterium tuberculosis was expressed as a recombinant protein in the rapid-growing species Mycobacterium smegmatis. The recombinant antigen was expressed at a level approximately ninefold higher than in M. tuberculosis and, like the native antigen, was found in the pellet fraction after high-speed centrifugation of bacterial extracts. The 19-kDa antigen in crude bacterial extracts, and the purified recombinant antigen, bound strongly to concanavalin A, indicating the possibility of posttranslational glycosylation. The recombinant antigen stimulated T-cell proliferation in vitro when added to assays either in the form of whole recombinant bacteria or as a purified protein. Homologous expression of mycobacterial antigens in a rapid-growing mycobacterial host may be particularly useful for the immunological characterization of proteins which are subject to posttranslational modification.

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