Exopolysaccharides (EXPs) of are associated with virulence in animal models. An EXP from the strain Smith diffuse was previously detected in 64.3% of clinical isolates. EXP was isolated from culture supernatants of this strain after DNAase, RNAase, phosphodiesterase I and lysostaphin treatment, and was further purified by cation-exchange and molecular-sieve chromatography. Isoelectric focusing revealed a pl of 3.6 for the EXP while the pl of teichoic acid was <2.7. Crossed immunoelectrophoresis with homologous Smith diffuse antisera indicated that the EXP contained two immunological components. A major precipitin line persisted after the antisera had been absorbed with the non-EXP-producing variant strain, Smith compact, while the second component was removed. Tandem immunoelectrophoresis also demonstrated that the EXP was distinct from teichoic acid. The EXP contained 2-amino-2-deoxyglucuronic acid, glucose, mannose and galactose. No fatty acids or nucleic acids were present and total protein content was < 2%. Teichoic acid could not be demonstrated in the EXP, thus further substantiating the immunological studies. EXP isolated by the present method can be used for further serological and virulence studies.


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