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J Clin Invest. 1985 May;75(5):1645-58.

Characterization of antigens from nontypable Haemophilus influenzae recognized by human bactericidal antibodies. Role of Haemophilus outer membrane proteins.


Major outer membrane antigens, proteins, and lipopolysaccharides (LPSs), from nontypable Haemophilus influenzae were characterized and examined as targets for complement-dependent human bactericidal antibodies. Outer membranes from two nontypable H. influenzae isolates that caused otitis media and pneumonia (middle ear and transtracheal aspirates) were prepared by shearing organisms in EDTA. These membranes were compared with membranes prepared independently by spheroplasting and lysozyme treatment of whole cells and found to have: similar sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) patterns of the proteins; identical densities (rho = 1.22 g/cm3); and minimal d-lactose dehydrogenase activity indicating purity from cytoplasmic membranes. Outer membranes were solubilized in an LPS-disaggregating buffer and proteins were separated from LPS by molecular sieve chromatography. The SDS-PAGE patterns of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) from the two strains differed in the major band although other prominent bands appeared similar in molecular weight. LPS prepared by hot phenol water extraction of each of the strains contained 45% (pneumonia isolate) and 60% (otitis isolate) lipid (wt/wt), 49% and 50% carbohydrate (wt/wt), respectively, and less than 1%, 3-deoxy-manno octulosonic acid. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) purified from normal human serum (NHS) plus complement was bactericidal for both strains. Purified immunoglobulin G (IgG) from NHS killed the middle ear isolate and immune convalescent IgM from the serum of the patient with pneumonia killed his isolate. NHS or convalescent serum were absorbed with OMPs and LPS (0.6-110 micrograms) from each of the strains and immune specific inhibition of bactericidal antibody activity by each antigen was determined. OMPs from the pulmonary isolate inhibited bactericidal antibody activity directed against the isolate in both NHS (1.5 microgram of antigen) and immune serum (0.75 microgram of antigen). OMPs (60 micrograms) from the ear isolate also inhibited bactericidal activity in the respective immune serum. LPSs exhibited minimal inhibition (greater than 110 micrograms). Three human sera (two normal, one immune) were selectively depleted of 80% of antibody activity against OMPs (measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) by affinity chromatography using OMPs from the pulmonary isolate coupled to a solid phase. These OMP antibody-depleted sera also showed an 88% reduction of bactericidal activity against this strain. Immunopurified antibody against OMPs eluted from the solid phase was bactericidal.

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