To gain insight into the value of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) core determinants for cross-protective immunisation the serological relationships between six complete (LPS) core types from Enterobacteriaceae were investigated. Hyperimmune sera were raised in mice by repeated immunisation with heat-killed strains of (Ra core type) or (core types R1, R2, R3, R4 and K12) and characterised for reactivity with complete and incomplete core chemotypes by ELISA and immunoblotting. Three sera (anti-Ra, anti-R2 and anti-R3) reacted strongly with 3-5 different complete core types whereas the other three (anti-R1, anti-R4 and anti-K12) reacted strongly only with their homologous core types in these assays. Two approaches were used to examine further the structural bases for cross-reactivity between these cores. By the first approach the anti-complete-core sera were tested for cross-reactivity with truncated forms of the species core (incomplete cores) derived from core-defective mutants. By the second approach, antisera raised against some core-defective mutants were tested for cross-reactivity with complete cores. The results of these investigations revealed that several pair-wise combinations of core types can be used as immunogens to elicit immune responses that recognise all six core types and that the major determinants which mediate cross-reactivity between complete cores are localised in the outer core region.


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