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A minor high-molecular-weight outer membrane protein of Haemophilus influenzae type b is a protective antigen.

  • Kimura, A
  • Gulig, P A
  • McCracken, G H Jr
  • Loftus, T A
  • Hansen, E J
Published Article
Infection and immunity
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1985
PMID: 2578121


Cell surface-exposed antigenic determinants of several high-molecular-weight outer membrane proteins of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) have been shown to be consistently immunogenic in human infants convalescing from Hib meningitis. A monoclonal antibody (mab), 6G12, directed against one of these cell surface-exposed outer membrane proteins that has an apparent molecular weight of 98,000 (98K) was identified by radioimmunoprecipitation analysis. Of 120 clinical isolates of Hib, 83 were found to possess antigenic determinants which reacted with mab 6G12 in a colony blot-radioimmunoassay procedure, indicating that the antigenic determinant recognized by mab 6G12 is present in the majority of Hib strains. A different radioimmunoassay, which uses whole Hib cells as antigen, confirmed that strains reactive with mab 6G12 in the colony blot-radioimmunoassay procedure possessed a cell surface-exposed and antibody-accessible antigenic determinant recognized by this mab. Hib strains which did not react with mab 6G12 were found to lack a 98K protein. Passive immunization with mab 6G12 reduced the level of bacteremia that developed in infant rats challenged with the homologous Hib strain against which this mab was raised. In contrast, no protection was observed when the challenge strain was one which lacks the antigenic determinant recognized by mab 6G12. Radioimmunoprecipitation analysis of sera from human infants convalescing from Hib meningitis detected an antibody response directed against the 98K protein. The protection against experimental Hib disease provided by antibody to the 98K protein, the immunogenicity of this protein in human infants, and its presence in a majority of Hib strains indicate that the 98K outer membrane protein may have potential for vaccine development.

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