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Microb Pathog. 1989 Jan;6(1):29-42.

Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum (Nichols) and Treponema pallidum subspecies pertenue (CDC 2575) differ in at least one nucleotide: comparison of two homologous antigens.

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Laboratory for Bacteriology, National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Hygiene, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


In an attempt to identify antigenic differences between Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum (T. pallidum) and Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (T. pertenue) a gene bank of T. pertenue was constructed in lambda vector EMBL3. Clones carrying the T. pertenue gene encoding a 190 kDa protein, TyF1, were selected and the DNA was expressed in E. coli. TyF1 was shown to be closely related, but slightly different from the previously cloned T. pallidum antigen TpF1. TyF1 and TpF1 are high molecular weight antigens of about 190 kDa, which dissociate into 19 kDa subunits after heat treatment in presence of SDS. The difference between the two proteins is most obvious after treatment with proteinase K, which yields a 115 kDa component from TyF1 and a 95 kDa component from TpF1, as determined by sodium dodecyl sulphate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). The structural genes encoding TyF1 and TpF1 were sequenced and the predicted amino acid sequences differed in a single amino acid residue at position 40, which is arginine in TyF1 and glutamine in TpF1. Similarities TyF1 and TpF1 with the previously described 4D antigen are discussed. The antibody response to TyF1 and TpF1 seems higher in syphilis patients than in yaws patients. The possibility of using the difference between these T. pallidum and the T. Pertenue antigens for serological discrimination of syphilis and yaws is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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