Serum samples collected over periods up to 15 years from nine patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) were investigated by immunoblotting and crossed immuno-electrophoresis (CIE) for antibodies to outer-membrane proteins (OMPs). The earliest antibody response to OMPs was directed against proteins G, H1 and I. Detection by immunoblotting sometimes preceded the CIE response; the appearance of antibodies to the other major OMPs was co-incident with an increase in CIE precipitins. Isolation of the mucoid from of was associated with a rapid increase in both precipitin numbers and antibodies detected by immunoblotting. Antibodies to iron-regulated OMPs could be detected in all the serum samples that showed eight or more CIE precipitins but their presence became pronounced only in the advanced stages of disease. The clinical strain used in this study and other isolates from CF patients showed several atypical OMPs, perhaps as a consequence of antibiotic therapy or related to the serum sensitivity of mucoid . Their expression was confirmed by detecting antibodies to them in patients' serum.


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