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Infect Immun. 1999 Sep;67(9):4578-85.

Analysis of antigenic structure and human immune response to outer membrane protein CD of Moraxella catarrhalis.

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Divisions of Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14215, USA.


Moraxella catarrhalis is an important cause of otitis media in children and lower respiratory tract infections in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Outer membrane protein CD (OMP CD) is a 45-kDa protein which is a potential vaccine antigen to prevent infections caused by M. catarrhalis. Eight monoclonal antibodies were used to study the antigenic structure of the OMP CD molecule by assaying recombinant peptides corresponding to the sequence of the protein. This approach identified two surface-exposed epitopes, including one near the amino terminus (amino acids 25 to 44) and one in the central region of the molecule (amino acids 261 to 331). Assays with serum and sputum supernatants of adults with COPD revealed variable levels of antibodies to OMP CD among individuals. To determine which portions of the OMP CD molecule were recognized by human antibodies, three human serum samples were studied with six recombinant peptides which span the sequence of OMP CD. All three sera contained immunoglobulin G antibodies which recognized exclusively the peptide corresponding to amino acids 203 to 260 by immunoblot assay. Adsorption experiments with whole bacteria established that some of the human antibodies are directed at surface-exposed epitopes on OMP CD. We conclude that OMP CD is a highly conserved molecule which contains at least two separate epitopes which are exposed on the bacterial surface. While individual adults with COPD show variability in the immune response to OMP CD, a specific region of the OMP CD molecule (amino acids 203 to 260) is important as a target of the human immune response.

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