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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Apr 1972; 69(4): 851–854.
PMCID: PMC426579

Isolation and Properties of a Macromolecular, Water-Soluble, Immuno-Adjuvant Fraction from the Cell Wall of Mycobacterium smegmatis

Abstract

Trypsin- and chymotrypsin-treated delipidated cell walls of Mycobacterium smegmatis were digested overnight with lysozyme. The water-soluble products thus obtained were filtered on a column of Sephadex G-50; the first peak, excluded from the column, has immunological adjuvant activity. The material of the excluded peak is obtained after lyophilization as a snow-white, fluffy material, soluble in water and insoluble in organic solvents. It behaves as a slightly polydisperse macromolecule in an ultracentrifuge, with an approximate molecular weight of 20,000. All the constituents of this material are typical bacterial cell-wall constituents; thus, the water-soluble adjuvant is considered to be an “oligomer” of the cell wall.

When added to Freund's incomplete adjuvant with an antigen (e.g., ovalbumin) and injected into hind-foot pads of guinea pigs, this water-soluble adjuvant increases the amount of precipitating antibodies and induces hypersensitivity to ovalbumin and the biosynthesis of γ2-type precipitating antibodies. The water-soluble material has a stronger adjuvant activity than equal amounts of whole bacteria, cell walls, or wax D, and seems to be the first well-defined, water-soluble, adjuvant-active fraction isolated from Mycobacteria.

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Selected References

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