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Infect Immun. 1982 Mar;35(3):979-89.

Outer membrane proteins of Brucella abortus: isolation and characterization.


Outer membrane proteins were derived from one rough and four smooth strains of Brucella abortus by sequential extraction of physically disrupted cells with N-lauroylsarcosinate and dipolar ionic detergent. Extraction of outer membrane proteins was ineffective, however, without predigestion with lysozyme. Three groups of proteins were present and could be separated in their native state by sequential anion-exchange chromatography and gel filtration. Membrane proteins contained substantial quantities of tightly adherent lipopolysaccharide which could be reduced but not eliminated by extraction of cells with trichloroacetic acid before disruption. Group 2 proteins, apparently trimers in their native state, gave rise to 43,000- and 41,000-molecular-weight bands after complete denaturation in sodium dodecyl sulfate. They were antigenically identical among all the strains, showed close resemblance in amino acid composition to each other and a general similarity to OmpF of Escherichia coli, and are proposed to be the porins of B. abortus. Group 3 proteins occurred as 30,000-molecular-weight bands on sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, although additional bands were frequently observed in this region. In none of the strains did group 3 proteins manifest heat-modifiable characteristics. Proteins of different strains bore a high degree of similarity to each other in amino acid composition, except in methionine, isoleucine, tyrosine, and histidine. Differences occurred consistently in amino acid composition between group 2 and 3 proteins, and some of these correspond to differences between OmpF and OmpA. Group 2 and 3 proteins were antigenically distinct from each other, but the principal group 3 antigens were shared among all the strains. Despite the lack of heat modifiability, perhaps influenced by adherent lipopolysaccharide, group 3 proteins are proposed as counterparts to OmpA. Most of the group 1 proteins, minor components, were physically associated with those of group 3 unless in sodium dodecyl sulfate. Group 1 proteins produced a major band at 94,000 and exhibited heat modifiability. No evidence was found of a low-molecular-weight lipoprotein in the outer membrane of B. abortus, but this is not taken to exclude its occurrence.

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