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J Gen Microbiol. 1988 Feb;134(2):531-8.

The secreted antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and their relationship to those recognized by the available antibodies.

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Department of Microbiology, School of Pathology, Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London, UK.


Proteins secreted by strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis during short-term, zinc-sufficient batch culture were identified in order to define antigens likely to be relevant to the pathogenesis of human disease. [35S]Methionine-labelled proteins in supernatants of 4-7 d cultures were separated by PAGE under both denaturing and non-denaturing conditions, and the position of labelled material was determined. Secreted protein patterns of M. tuberculosis were quite similar to those of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) but differed by the absence of the 46 kDa dimeric protein specific to BCG and by the presence in large amounts of a 23 kDa protein which, when denatured, gave 13 kDa subunits. This 13 kDa subunit protein constituted up to 20% of secreted proteins in classical strains of M. tuberculosis of phage type B but was not detected in phage type I strains from South India. This may be relevant to the different pathogenicity of these strains. Western blot analysis showed that antigens defined in supernatants of short-term (3 d) cultures of M. tuberculosis constituted a small subset of those seen in supernatants of organisms cultured for longer periods. One of the secreted proteins has the interesting property of binding to fibronectin. The available monoclonal antibodies and antisera have been used to identify lines on immunoblots corresponding to the secreted/released antigens of M. tuberculosis. The present findings suggest that there are major secreted antigens to which antibodies do not yet appear to have been produced experimentally.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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