Six murine plasma cell hybridomas producing monoclonal antibodies (mabs) directed against the 39,000-molecular-weight (39K) major outer membrane protein of Haemophilus influenzae type b were employed in the antigenic analysis of the 39K protein. The initial characterization of the mabs by radioimmunoprecipitation analysis showed that four of these mabs reacted with antigenic determinants of the 39K protein that are exposed on the bacterial cell surface and accessible to antibody. The other two mabs reacted with antigenic determinants of the 39K protein that are either not exposed on the H. influenzae type b cell surface or not accessible to antibody (internal determinants). A total of 126 clinical isolates of H. influenzae type b obtained from pediatric research centers throughout the United States were examined for reactivity with the six mabs by using a solid-phase radioimmunoassay in which bacterial colony growth from agar plates was placed on filter paper and used as antigen. The reactivities of these strains with two of the mabs recognizing cell surface-exposed antigenic determinants of the 39K protein were used to divide the 126 strains into four different groups. Group 1 strains reacted with mab 12D9, group 2 strains reacted with mab 4C4, group 3 strains reacted with both mabs 12D9 and 4C4, and group 4 strains (only one was found) did not react with either mab. The reactivities of two other mabs recognizing cell surface-exposed antigenic determinants of the 39K protein were used to further divide the four groups into eight subgroups. A single mab recognizing an internal antigenic determinant of the 39K protein reacted with every H. influenzae type b strain examined in this study. These data indicate that only limited antigenic heterogeneity exists among the cell surface-exposed antigenic determinants of the 39K outer membrane proteins among H. influenzae type b strains and that at least one internal antigenic determinant of the 39K protein is universally present in all H. influenzae type b strains. Radioimmunoprecipitation analysis also demonstrated that H. influenzae type b strains which lacked a 39K major outer membrane protein possessed a 38K major outer membrane protein which reacted with the anti-39K mabs, indicating that the 38K and 39K outer membrane proteins of different H. influenzae type b strains are antigenically related.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases