Infection and immunity

Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and monoclonal antibodies as tools for the subgrouping of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide O18 and O23 antigens.

PMID 3510172


The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of Escherichia coli O18 isolated from a wide variety of sources was analyzed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE). Four different LPS types, designated O18A, O18A1, O18B, and O18B1, were identified. Most O18 strains possess O18A, O18A1, or O18B LPS types, and these types are clonally associated. A reference test strain with the classical O18ab designation possessed O18B LPS, while two reference O18ac strains possessed O18A and O18A1 LPS, respectively. A panel of 15 anti-O18A B-cell hybridomas was isolated. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays revealed that some of the monoclonal antibodies produced by these cells recognize different epitopes. Four of these antibodies suffice to distinguish the four O18 types. Numerous strains whose LPS had been typed by SDS-PAGE were tested by agglutination with seven monoclonal antibodies whose specificities had been determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The results indicated a perfect correlation between the two methods. Rabbit antisera raised against O18A bacteria agglutinated boiled bacteria of each of the O18 LPS types efficiently. The antisera were adsorbed with bacteria possessing each of the LPS types. The adsorbed sera only distinguished between two groups: O18A and O18A1 versus O18B and O18B1, as shown by agglutination assays and Western blotting. E. coli O4 and O23 and Serratia marcescens O8 antigens, which are reputed to cross-react with O18, were also analyzed. One O4, one O8, and four O23 strains were tested. All made an LPS which was distinguishable from O18 LPS types by SDS-PAGE. Each O23 strain synthesized a different LPS, and three of them synthesized only few short chains. Some of the monoclonal antibodies reacted with O4, O8, and O23A LPSs. The results are interpreted as indicating that numerous E. coli O serogroups will prove to be chemically heterogeneous and that future analyses of subgroup heterogeneity should be guided by results from SDS-PAGE and rely preferentially on monoclonal antibodies as opposed to rabbit hyperimmune sera.

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