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Properties of proteins MPB64, MPB70, and MPB80 of Mycobacterium bovis BCG.

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  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


The immunogenic proteins MPB64 and MPB80 of Mycobacterium bovis BCG were purified to homogeneity and compared with MPB70. MPB70 and MPB80 showed a similar distribution in substrains of BCG, both being present in high concentrations in culture fluids of BCG substrain Tokyo, BCG Moreau, BCG Russia, and BCG Sweden and in only very small amounts in BCG Glaxo, BCG Tice, BCG Copenhagen, and BCG Pasteur. In various physicochemical properties MPB70 and MPB80 were closely similar, but MPB80 had a distinctly lower pI value. The N-terminal amino acid sequence was identical for the first 30 residues. In reactions with anti-MPB70 antibodies and delayed-type hypersensitivity skin reactions, MPB70 and MPB80 also had very similar properties. These results show that MPB70 and MPB80 are two closely similar forms of the same gene product, and postsynthetic changes probably explain the observed differences. By contrast, MPB64 had a higher molecular weight. The N-terminal amino acid sequence showed no homology with MPB70, and these two proteins showed no immunologic similarity. MPB64 and MPB70 showed only very restricted cross-reactivity with other species of mycobacteria but cross-reacted with Nocardia asteroides. The similar occurrence in eight different substrains of BCG indicated that the two proteins are influenced by similar control mechanisms, but in contrast to MPB70, MPB64 occurred in sufficient concentration in two strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to give a distinct spot in two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of their culture fluids.

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