1887

Abstract

Summary

Isolates of group B streptococci (GBS) from neonates with early-onset septicaemia are associated with particular restriction endonuclease digestion patterns (RDP type Ia-3 and III-3) of chromosomal DNA. Opsonophagocytosis of serotype Ia and serotype III GBS isolates was studied by the luminol-enhanced phagocytic chemiluminescence (CL) assay. Pools of serum containing GBS type-specific antibody levels equivalent to or just above levels typically found in sera from mothers of infected infants were used. CL intensities induced by GBS isolates of RDP types Ia-2, Ia-3 and III-3 were lower than those of the other RDP types of the same serotype. Opsonophagocytosis was more efficient with serum containing higher concentrations of type-specific antibodies but for RDP type III-3 strains these differences were much less marked than for other RDP types. CL intensity did not correlate with cell surface charge, hydrophobicity or sialic acid content of GBS. Results demonstrate that certain GBS RDP types are more resistant to opsonophagocytosis and suggest that potentially virulent strains with genetic homogeneity may ex