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Infect Immun. 1982 Oct; 38(1): 233–242.
PMCID: PMC347724

Cell Wall-Associated Protein Antigens of Streptococcus salivarius: Purification, Properties, and Function in Adherence


Three cell wall-associated protein antigens (antigens b, c, and d) were isolated from mutanolysin-solubilized cell walls of Streptococcus salivarius HB and purified to apparent homogeneity by a combination of ion-exchange chromatography, gel filtration, and immunoadsorption chromatography. Antigens b and c were also isolated from culture supernatants. Antigen b consisted of more than 80% protein and had an apparent molecular weight as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of 320,000. Antigen c consisted of 57% protein, about 30% neutral sugar, and about 13% amino sugar, and its glycoprotein nature was confirmed by specific staining techniques. During sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis antigen c resolved into two or more bands, depending on the source or the isolation procedure, in the molecular weight range from 220,000 to 280,000. Antigen d consisted of 95% protein and was observed in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis as two bands with molecular weights of 129,000 and 121,000. Under nondenaturing conditions all three antigens had molecular weights in the range from 1 × 106 to 3 × 106 as determined by gel filtration. The amino acid compositions of antigens b, c, and d were characterized by low amounts of basic amino acids and relatively high levels of nonpolar amino acids. Among oral streptococcal species antigens b and c were virtually restricted to strains of S. salivarius and most often to serotype I strains. Antigen b was recognized as the factor that mediates coaggregation of S. salivarius with Veillonella strains. The purified protein retained its biological activity. Antigen c could be linked to functions relating to adhesion of the streptococci to host tissues on the basis of its absence in mutant strains and blocking by specific antisera. The purified molecule had no detectable biological activity. Antigen d could not be linked to an established adhesion function.

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