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Microb Pathog. 1992 Sep;13(3):219-24.

The lipooligosaccharide immunotype as a virulence determinant in Neisseria meningitidis.

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Manchester Public Health Laboratory, Withington Hospital, U.K.


We have studied the antigenic (immunotype) and physical characteristics of the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) of epidemiologically related Neisseria meningitidis case (36) and carrier (76) isolates associated with a virulent clone of meningococci (ET-5 complex). LOS immunotypes were determined by dot blotting using immunotype specific monoclonal antibodies and physical characteristics were determined from silver stained SDS-PAGE following proteinase K digestion. The genetic similarity of the different isolates was confirmed by analysis of the restriction fragment length polymorphisms. An association between LOS immunotype expression and invasive disease was found; 97% of case isolates expressed the L3,7,9 immunotype, of which 13% additionally expressed the L1,8,10 determinant. The LOS immunotypes of carrier strains were much more heterogeneous. The predominant immunotype was L1,8,10 (70%) and only 24% expressed L3,7,9 alone. Genotypically related case isolates from Norway (6) and Austria (18) expressed the L3,7,9 immunotype with similar frequency to the U.K. isolates. The combination of LOS immunotype and capsule expression appears to be related to the virulence of these meningococcal strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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