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Microb Pathog. 1997 Jun;22(6):321-9.

Detection of the phosphorylcholine epitope in streptococci, Haemophilus and pathogenic Neisseriae by immunoblotting.

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  • 1Department of Vaccinology, National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, Norway.


The phosphorylcholine (PC) determinant in Streptococcus pneumoniae is known to be linked to the cell wall polysaccharides (C-Ps) and to the lipoteichoic acid (LTA) (Forssman antigen) of the plasma membrane. Western blotting with two PC specific murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) designated 145,F-2 (IgM) and 147,A-1 (IgA) showed a similar ladder-like pattern for all examined strains of S. pneumoniae and Streptococcus mitis. Purified antigens run in parallel indicated that this ladder pattern is due to the PC of LTA. Unlike other techniques, Western blotting thus enables the identification of only one of the streptococcal structures carrying the PC epitope. Gram-negative organisms were also examined, and six of 11 Haemophilus influenzae strains reacted with the MAbs. For this species, unlike the streptococci, only one fast moving band was detected. Analyses by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) detected the PC epitope in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) fraction from H. influenzae. Some strains of the Neisseriaceae family were also positive by Western blotting, but TLC and immunostaining did not detect the PC determinant in LPS.

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