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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2000 Dec;29(4):315-21.

Identification of the secreted macromolecular immunogens of Staphylococcus aureus by analysis of serum.

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Cellular Microbiology Research Group, Division of Surgical Sciences, Eastman Dental Institute, University College London, UK.


The ability of sera to recognise secreted macromolecules of Staphylococcus aureus was examined by ELISA and Western immunoblotting. Individual secreted proteins were also studied using both human sera and sera from rabbits immunised with secreted macromolecules. Patients sera showed a wide range of IgG antibody titres to secreted macromolecules and whole bacteria. Controls showed a significantly lower IgG response. Western immunoblotting revealed that a significant number of secreted proteins were recognised by circulating IgG antibodies. Surprisingly, both the sera from controls and from patients recognised similar macromolecules including a number of potential virulence factors. The major difference was in the IgG binding to a 16-kDa component, which was recognised by the majority of the sera from infected individuals, but only by a small number of sera from healthy controls. The higher incidence of antibodies recognising the 16 kDa component may be related to our earlier finding that the major bone resorbing component of S. aureus is a heterodimeric protein containing a 16-kDa subunit, the activity of which could be blocked by sera.

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