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Infect Immun. Dec 1990; 58(12): 3980–3987.
PMCID: PMC313765

Identification of seven surface-exposed Brucella outer membrane proteins by use of monoclonal antibodies: immunogold labeling for electron microscopy and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


A panel of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to seven Brucella outer membrane proteins were characterized. These antibodies were obtained by immunizing mice with sodium dodecyl sulfate-insoluble (SDS-I) fractions, cell walls, or whole bacterial cells of Brucella abortus or B. melitensis. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used to screen the hybridoma supernatants and to determine their binding at the surface of rough and smooth B. abortus and B. melitensis cells. The outer membrane proteins (OMPs) recognized by these antibodies were the proteins with molecular masses of 25 to 27 kDa and 36 to 38 kDa (porin) (major proteins) and the proteins with molecular masses of 10, 16.5, 19, 31 to 34, and 89 kDa (minor proteins). Surface exposure of these OMPs was visualized by electron microscopy by using the MAbs and immunogold labeling. Binding of the MAbs on whole rough bacterial cells indicates that the 10-, 16.5-, 19-, 25- to 27-, 31- to 34-, 36- to 38-, and 89-kDa OMPs are exposed at the cell surface. However, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay results indicate a much better binding of the anti-OMP MAbs on rough strains than on the corresponding smooth strains except for the anti-19-kDa MAb. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that on smooth B. abortus cells only the 89- and 31- to 34-kDa OMPs were not accessible to the MAbs tested. Binding of the anti-31- to 34-kDa MAb at the cell surface was observed for the rough B. abortus cells and for the rough and smooth B. melitensis cells. These results indicate the importance of steric hindrance due to the presence of the long lipopolysaccharide O side chains in the accessibility of OMPs on smooth Brucella strains and should be considered when undertaking vaccine development.

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