A novel Mycobacterium bovis antigen was identified from an expression library using sera from naturally infected cattle. The Escherichia coli recombinant clone expressed a 27 kDa protein, named P27. A rabbit serum against the recombinant antigen recognized a protein of 27 kDa in cellular extracts from M. bovis and M. tuberculosis. No protein was recognized in the culture supernatant. Sequence analysis indicated that P27 has a molecular mass of 24 kDa, showing a characteristic signal sequence for lipoprotein modification (a signal peptidase type II site). The gene is identical to a gene identified in the M. tuberculosis genome sequencing project. Cellular fractionation experiments suggested that P27 is an integral membrane protein. The antigen was recognized by individual sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from diseased cattle. PCR experiments with specific primers directed to the P27 structural gene indicated that it is only present in the M. tuberculosis species complex. In conclusion, a novel immunogenic lipoprotein in M. bovis/M. tuberculosis has been identified. The results presented here and elsewhere suggest that mycobacterial lipoproteins should be considered in the design of new recombinant vaccines and diagnostic methods.
A monoclonal antibody (mAb Z3) was produced using BALB/c mice immunized with whole cells of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 reference strain S735. Screening by dot-ELISA showed that mAb Z3, of isotype lgG2b, reacted only with reference strains and field isolates of S. suis serotypes 1, 2 and 1/2. The recognized epitope was demonstrated to be polysaccharide in nature by periodate oxidation, and located in the capsule, since mAb Z3 reacted with purified capsular material by immunoblotting and was able to stabilize the capsule as shown by electron microscopy. Further characterization indicated that mAb Z3 may react specifically with the sialic acid moiety of the capsule, a common constituent of the polysaccharidic capsular material of the three capsular types, since sialidase-treated cells did not react with mAb Z3 in immunoblotting or indirect EILISA. Purified mAb Z3 was shown to significantly increase the rate of phagocytosis of S. suis cells by porcine monocytes and to activate the clearance of bacteria from the circulation in experimentally infected mice. However, mAb Z3 only offered partial protection to mice challenged with a minimal lethal dose. Thus, even though the capsule of S. suis seems to be an important virulence factor, the epitope recognized by mAb Z3 does not appear to be involved in complete protection against infection.