Summary: Encapsulated and non-encapsulated variants of one strain of gonococcus were compared for their capacity to produce infection in chambers implanted subcutaneously in mice, for their reactions with specific antibody and for their precipitation with wheat germ agglutinin. Only the encapsulated variant could infect implanted chambers. Specific rabbit antiserum raised against the non-encapsulated variant killed only that variant, whereas antibody raised against the encapsulated variant killed both variants.

Saline extracts and lipopolysaccharide preparations of the encapsulated variant differed from those of the non-encapsulated one in their reactions with wheat germ agglutinin and antibody in diffusion and electrophoresis tests. Preparations from infective encapsulated gonococci reacted with wheat germ agglutinin while those from the non-encapsulated variant did not. Immunodiffusion tests showed that lipopolysaccharides from both variants share a common antigenic determinant, but saline extracts and lipopolysaccharides from encapsulated gonococci possess an additional determinant. The significance of these findings is discussed.


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