DNA from 17 strains of Bacillus sphaericus, including representatives of all the established DNA homology groups, was cleaved with EcoRI or HindIII and fragments were separated by agarose gel electrophoresis. Southern blots of this DNA were hybridized to a radioactively labelled DNA probe prepared from the cloned 16S rrnB ribosomal RNA operon of Escherichia coli. Banding patterns of the chromosomal DNA digests and the autoradiograms were specific to DNA homology groups I (B. sphaericus sensu stricto), IIA (mosquito-pathogenic strains), IIB (B. fusiformis) and V, but groups III and IV were not clearly distinguished. This suggests that the mosquito-pathogenic strains represent a separate subspecies.
Mutants of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans strain Y4 defective in the capsular-like serotype b-specific polysaccharide antigen (SPA) were constructed by inserting the transposon Tn 916. Southern blot analysis suggested that the transposon was inserted into a variety of different sites on the chromosome. Whole cells from two mutants (strains ST1 and ST2) lacked reactivity with a monoclonal antibody to SPA of A. actinomycetemcomitans Y4 (mAb S5) in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, but those from another nine mutants (e.g. strains ST3 and ST5) reacted very weakly with mAb S5. Immunodiffusion tests showed that mAb S5 or rabbit antiserum against whole cells of strain Y4 produced a fused precipitin band with purified SPA and autoclaved extract from strain Y4, but no precipitin band with autoclaved extracts from these four mutants. The hydrolysate of autoclaved extract from strain Y4 contained equal amounts of rhamnose and fucose, component sugars of SPA. The hydrolysates of autoclaved extracts from strains ST1 and ST2 contained a trace amount of rhamnose, but not fucose. Those of autoclaved extracts from strains ST3 and ST5 contained a trace amount of fucose, but not rhamnose. All of these SPA-defective mutants reacted with a mAb to lipopolysaccharide of strain Y4. The cell hydrophobicity of SPA-defective mutants was higher than that of the parent strain. These mutant clones will be useful for analysing the gene complex responsible for the synthesis of SPA of A. actinomycetemcomitans and the regulation of expression of the polysaccharide.
The biochemical, immunological, and biological properties of an S layer purified from an Aeromonas hydrophila strain (AH-342) involved in a case of bacteraemia were investigated. The S layer selectively removed from the cell surface was composed of a single acidic (pI 4·65) protein subunit (surface array protein, SAP) with a molecular mass of approximately 52 kDa. Amino acid analysis of this 52 kDa protein indicated a molecule composed of 498 amino acids with 46% hydrophobic residues. No cysteine residues were detected. The first 35 residues of the N-terminus were sequenced by Edman degradation; only 4–24% homology was noted between this sequence and those previously published for SAPs of Aeromonas salmonicida (A450) and a strain of A. hydrophila (TF7) originally isolated from a moribund fish. Polyclonal antibodies raised against AH-342 SAP were genospecific, reacting only against S layers produced by A. hydrophila strains and not those from Aeromonas veronii. Acute serum from the bacteraemic patient from whom AH-342 was isolated reacted strongly with the SAP of AH-342 in immunoblot studies. Purified SAP, when intraperitoneally co-inoculated with SAP− strains of A. hydrophila into Swiss-Webster mice, could reduce the 50% lethal dose by approximately 30–70 fold. The results suggest that the SAP of A. hydrophila strains may play an important role in systemic dissemination after invasion through the gastrointestinal mucosa.
Determination of the cell-surface hydrophobicity of group B streptococci by hydrophobic interaction chromatography on phenyl-Sepharose revealed that human and bovine group B streptococcal isolates with protein surface antigens, either alone or in combination with polysaccharide antigens, were mainly hydrophobic, whereas those with polysaccharide antigens alone were mainly hydrophilic. Removal of capsular neuraminic acid enhanced, and pronase treatment reduced, surface hydrophobicity. The hydrophobic surface proteins, solubilized by mutanolysin treatment of the bacteria and isolated by hydrophobic interaction chromatography, appeared in SDS-PAGE as numerous protein bands. Staphylococcal carrier cells loaded with antibodies produced against hydrophobic surface proteins agglutinated specifically with hydrophobic group B streptococci. No agglutination reaction was observed with hydrophilic cultures. Hydrophobic group B streptococci adhered to buccal epithelial cells in significantly higher numbers than did hydrophilic cultures. The adherence of group B streptococci to epithelial cells was inhibited in the presence of isolated hydrophobic proteins and in the presence of specific antibodies produced against hydrophobic proteins. The results of this study demonstrate a close relation between the occurrence of type-specific antigens, surface hydrophobicity and the adherence of group B streptococci to epithelial cells.