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Scand J Immunol. 1991 Sep;34(3):365-72.

MPB 64 possesses 'tuberculosis-complex'-specific B- and T-cell epitopes.

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Mycobacteria Department, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.


We have developed monoclonal antibodies (MoAb) reactive with a protein from Mycobacterium tuberculosis of apparent molecular mass 24 kDa. This protein was shown to be identical with MPB 64 (Harboe et al.,) MoAb bound to four different epitopes of which two were restricted to the 'tuberculosis complex' and two were also found in mycobacteria not belonging to the 'tuberculosis complex'. The cross-reactive MoAb demonstrate that MPB 64 is present in more mycobacterial species than previously assumed. MPB 64 was shown to induce strong delayed type hypersensitivity (Dth) reactions in outbred guinea pigs immunized with M. tuberculosis and M. bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG). No reaction was observed in animals immunized with mycobacteria not belonging to the 'tuberculosis complex'. The Dth-inducing capacity of MPB64 was compared with that of another 24 kDa protein purified from M. tuberculosis and of the previously described 38 kDa protein. The Dth responses to these three antigens were further analysed in four inbred guinea pig strains. A genetic restriction of the ability of the animals to respond to MPB 64 as well as to the 38 kDa protein was observed.

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