Haemophilus influenza type b lipooligosaccharide: Stability of expression and association with virulence

Alan Kimura, Christian C. Patrick, Elizabeth E. Miller, Leslie D. Cope, George H. Mccracken, Eric J. Hansen

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40 Scopus citations


Spontaneous antigenic and phenotypic variations in the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) of two strains of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) were previously shown to be associated with changes in virulence (A. Kimura and E.J. Hansen, Infect. Immun. 51:69-79, 1986). The goal of the present study was to define further the stability of LOS expression by this pathogen and the role of Hib LOS in virulence. Variation in LOS antigenic reactivity, as detected with LOS-specific monoclonal antibodies, was observed in 3 of 30 Hib strains after single-colony passage. When large numbers of individual colonies from seven other Hib strains were screened, however, spontaneous LOS antigenic variation was detected in all of the strains. Antigenic variation was not consistently associated with an altered LOS phenotype, as determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gradient gel electrophoresis and silver staining of LOS preparations. Changes in the LOS antigenic phenotype were correlated with altered virulence potential in two strains. In these strains, acquisition of reactivity with certain LOS-directed monoclonal antibodies was associated with the synthesis of a higher-molecular-weight LOS, enhanced virulence, and increased resistance to serum killing involving the classical complement pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1979-1986
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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