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Brucella melitensis cell envelope protein and lipopolysaccharide epitopes involved in humoral immune responses of naturally and experimentally infected sheep.

  • M S Zygmunt
  • A Cloeckaert
  • G Dubray
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1994
  • Biology


Cell envelope fraction (CEF) of Brucella melitensis B115 was used to investigate antibody responses of B. melitensis naturally and strain H38 experimentally infected sheep by immunoblotting, indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) (I-ELISA), and competitive ELISA (C-ELISA) with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). MAbs used were directed to outer membrane proteins with molecular masses of 10, 16.5, 19, 25 to 27, 31 to 34, 36 to 38, and 89 kDa; to the heat shock protein DnaK, to O-polysaccharide (O-PS) common (C) and M epitopes; and to rough lipopolysaccharide (R-LPS) epitopes. In immunoblotting, all infected sheep sera tested recognized a large number of protein bands, including the above-cited proteins and other proteins for which MAbs have not been defined. The antibody response pattern was different from one animal to another, even within the experimentally infected sheep which were infected under the same experimental conditions. A number of protein bands were recognized by the sheep sera prior to experimental infection and by other uninfected sheep sera. The antibody reactivity to these antigens and others might explain the nonspecific antibody reactivity of sera in I-ELISA with CEF. C-ELISA confirmed also the individual variability of the antibody responses of infected sheep to protein antigens. Antibody responses to O-PS C and M epitopes were detected in all experimentally infected sheep and in half of the naturally infected sheep, but these responses were also heterogeneous in relation to their intensities. Antibody responses to R-LPS epitopes detected by use of C-ELISA with the anti-R-LPS MAbs were low or negative in most of the infected animals. Despite antibody response heterogeneity for CEF antigens, immunoblot and C-ELISA results indicated that, among the CEF antigens, the O-PS epitopes (C and M epitopes) and epitopes of the major 25- to 27- and 31- to 34-kDa outer membrane proteins seem to be the most promising for detecting B. melitensis infection in sheep.

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