Antigens from a number of spiroplasmas were solubilized in the neutral detergent Lubrol PX and compared by crossed immunoelectrophoresis. Samples were also run in tandem with the type species , continuity of immunoprecipitin rockets indicating antigenic identity and serological relatedness of spiroplasmas. It was concluded that corn stunt spiroplasmas, the honeybee (BC3) spiroplasma and the tick (277F) spiroplasma were related serologically to but some flower isolates and the tick (SMCA) spiroplasma showed no obvious relationship. The serological relatedness of and the honeybee (BC3) spiroplasma was investigated in detail. These two spiroplasmas each contain a major membrane protein which differ slightly in molecular weight. The two proteins were purified under identical conditions and used to raise monospecific antisera. Using the sera obtained in this way with a modified immunoelectrophoretic system having sodium dodecyl sulphate—polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis as the first dimension separation, it was shown that the major membrane proteins of and the honeybee (BC3) spiroplasma are antigenically dissimilar. We suggest that spiralin, the major membrane protein of , and the major membrane protein of the honeybee (BC3) spiroplasma are dominant cell surface antigens, so that while these two spiroplasmas are known to be very similar, serological tests involving comparison of cell surface antigens indicate less relationship.


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