Summary: Hybrid cell lines have been derived which produce monoclonal antibodies reacting with outer membrane protein I from strain P9. The antibodies obtained showed variable reactivity with other strains but one antibody recognized an epitope present on all of the strains tested which expressed the protease sensitive protein IB. Purified IgG labelled with I was used in competitive radioimmunoassays with unlabelled antibody to investigate the spacial distribution of the epitopes recognized. Each pair of antibodies showed some degree of inhibition. The relative magnitude of inhibition suggested that the conserved epitope lies within a variable region containing other epitopes which determine the antigenic specificity of the protein. Western blotting of peptides derived by proteolytic digestion of protein IB revealed that the conserved epitope is located close to the chymotrypsin cleavage site within a 7000 surface exposed region of the molecule.


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