Summary: The protein constituents in the outer membrane (OM) of several serotypes of and some other Enterobacteriaceae cross-reacted antigenically. Solubilized OM preparations of these bacteria were applied in interfacial precipitin tests to antisera elicited in rabbits against whole bacterial cells, absorbed with their appropriate lipopolysaccharide before testing. The resulting immunecomplexes were analysed on polyacrylamide gels. Protein profiles of the immunoprecipitates showed a considerable antigenic cross-reactivity of outer membrane proteins between most serotypes. Cross-reactivity, though substantially lower, was also found with OM from three other Enterobacteriaceae species, but was not detectable with OM. When OM preparations were solubilized at room temperature, the peptidoglycan-bound proteins in the molecular weight range 37000 to 41000 predominated in the protein profiles of the immunecomplexes. In profiles of immunecomplexes obtained with boiled OM preparations, a heat-modifiable protein (mol. wt 33000) predominated. The major OM proteins of the Gram-negative bacterium may therefore play a role as common surface antigens of the family of Entero-bacteriaceae.


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