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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 1998 Nov;5(6):862-70.

O-Polysaccharide epitopic heterogeneity at the surface of Brucella spp. studied by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and flow cytometry.

Author information

1
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire de Pathologie Infectieuse et Immunologie, 37380 Nouzilly, France. Axel.Cloeckaert@tours.inra.fr

Abstract

Smooth Brucella strains are classified into three serotypes, i.e., A+M-, A-M+, and A+M+, according to slide agglutination with A and M monospecific polyclonal sera. The epitopes involved have been located on the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) moiety of the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), which represents the most exposed antigenic structure on the surface of Brucella spp. By use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) a number of epitope specificities on the O-PS have been reported: A, M, and epitopes shared by both A and M dominant strains, which have been named common (C) epitopes. The latter have been further subdivided, according to relative MAb binding in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to A- and M-dominant Brucella strains and to cross-reacting Yersinia enterocolitica O:9, into five epitopic specificities: C (M>A), C (M=A), C/Y (M>A), C/Y (M=A), and C/Y (A>M). In the present study, we studied the occurrence of these epitopes at the surface of representatives of all Brucella species and biovars including the live vaccine strains by analyzing the levels of MAb binding to whole Brucella cells in ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In ELISA, the level of MAb binding correlated well with the previously defined epitope specificity and the serotype defined by polyclonal sera for each Brucella species, biovar, or strain. However, MAbs to the C (M=A) and C (M>A) epitopes showed insignificant binding to B. suis biovar 2 strains and bound at lower titers to B. suis biovar 3 and B. neotomae than to the other Brucella strains. Some of the flow cytometry results were contradictory to those obtained by ELISA. In fact, it appeared by flow cytometry that all O-PS epitopes, including the A and M epitopes, are shared to different degrees by Brucella spp. which nevertheless show a high degree of O-PS heterogeneity according to MAb binding intensities. The subdivision of MAb specificities and Brucella serotypes was therefore less evident by flow cytometry than by ELISA. Whereas in ELISA the MAb specific for the A epitope showed insignificant binding to Y. enterocolitica O:9, this MAb bound strongly to Y. enterocolitica O:9 in flow cytometry. One of the two MAbs specific to the C (M=A) epitope also bound at a low but significant level to B. suis biovar 2 strains. However, as in ELISA the MAb specific for the C (M>A) epitope did not bind at all to B. suis biovar 2 strains in flow cytometry. Flow cytometry provided new information regarding specificity of the MAbs and may further explain some aspects of the capacity of passive protection of some MAbs against smooth Brucella infection in mice. As shown in the present study the occurrence of Brucella strains apparently completely devoid of one specific C O-PS epitope (e.g., B. suis biovar 2 devoid of the C [M>A] epitope) offers the possibility of obtaining vaccine strains devoid of a diagnostic O-PS epitope, which could further help to resolve the problem of discriminating infected from vaccinated animals that remains a major goal in brucellosis research.

PMID:
9801349
PMCID:
PMC96216
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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