Monovalent rabbit antisera were prepared to highly purified gonococcal lipopolysaccharide (LPS), to pili and to two major purified outer envelope proteins. All these antisera were free from significant specific IgM antibody and were standardized to 4 μg specific IgG antibody per test, permitting accurate comparisons between the different gonococcal surface antigens as triggers of the complement-dependent bactericidal reaction. LPS was the most effective antigen at inducing a bactericidal response to homologous and heterologous gonococci, followed by the two individual outer envelope proteins. Pili were relatively ineffective. Strain p9 gonococci grown or which possessed a ‘capsule’ were more resistant to serum killing than the non-capsulated parent strain. One highly susceptible strain, F62, which was killed by complement in the absence of any LPS antibody, was able to directly activate complement by the alternative pathway.


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