Affordable Access

Streptococcal M protein extracted by nonionic detergent. III. Correlation between immunological cross-reactions and structural similarities with implications for antiphagocytosis

Journal of Experimental Medicine
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
  • Articles
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Three immunologically cross-reactive and non-cross-reactive streptococcal M proteins were analyzed by a chromatographic tryptic peptide mapping system. The results indicate that cross-reactions correlate with the extent of structural similarity among the M protein molecules analyzed. The data also reveal that free lysine is released by the action of trypsin from these three M proteins, suggesting a common lys-lys or arg-lys sequence. In addition, only one peptide has been found to be common within all three M types. This limited structural relatedness among the three M proteins examined indicates that sequence variation plays a major role in the immunological specificity of the M antigens. However, despite sequence variation, all M protein molecules have a common antiphagocytic activity. The fact that no common opsonic antibody has yet been found, even against limited M types, argues against this biological activity being solely the result of a common sequence. Based on these data, it is suggested that the antiphagocytic effect of M protein may be due to a conformationally created environment on the surface of the molecule which is selected by both immunological and biological pressure.

There are no comments yet on this publication. Be the first to share your thoughts.