SUMMARY: Murine monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) were raised against two outer-membrane-associated polypeptides of (47 and 44 kDa). Three Mabs against each polypeptide were investigated further and only those directed against the 44 kDa polypeptide were demonstrated to have immobilizing activity. The specificity of the Mabs for was determined by Western blotting procedures and the surface association of the antigens was inferred by immunogold electron microscopy. The clear distinction between these two polypeptides in their biological activity could help to explain the pathobiology of syphilis infections as the 47 kDa antigen has been shown to be associated with the outer membrane of this organism. Inactivity of such a surface-located protein in antibody-mediated anti-treponemal mechanisms could account for the observed ability of this organism to survive in the face of strong antibody responses in infection.


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