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Gene. 1997 Mar 25;188(1):123-8.

Characterisation of a lipoprotein in Mycobacterium bovis (BCG) with sequence similarity to the secreted protein MPB70.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, Western Cape Province, South Africa.


The monoclonal antibody, mAb3C4, raised against sonicated Mycobacterium bovis (Mb) BCG (Tokyo strain 172) cells recognises a 23-kDa protein in the cell wall. The gene encoding this protein was cloned and sequenced and found to be 100% homologous to mpb83 and mpt83 and the putative protein to have a 76% sequence similarity to the secreted, Mb-specific protein, MPB70. MPB83 contains the amino acid (aa) sequence LAGC, which corresponds to the consensus sequence for bacterial lipoprotein modification and processing. MPB83 associated with the detergent phase when separated with Triton X-114 confirming that it is a lipoprotein. When the putative site of acylation, the Cys in the sequence LAGC, was substituted with Ser, the mutated MPB83 associated with the aqueous phase. The cloned gene was used to determine the distribution of mpb83 in various Mycobacterium species. The gene was present in the M. tuberculosis (Mt) complex organisms, as well as in M. kansasii. In addition, Southern blot analysis of Mb and Mt DNA indicated that the mpb83 and mpb70 genes are located close to each other on the genome. Western blot analysis of cell lysates of various Mycobacterium species indicated that only Mt H37Rv and H37Ra produced proteins which reacted with mAb3C4. Furthermore, only two out of six of the Mb field isolates produced detectable antigen, indicating that expression of the mpb83 gene is variable within the Mt complex organisms.

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