SUMMARY: A suitable immunization protocol for the stimulation of a murine antibody response to the axial filament polypeptides of was established. A range of monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) specific for different epitopes of the major axial filament polypeptide (37 kDa) was generated which demonstrated diversity in their ability to react with other treponemal species. Immunogold electron microscopy located the 37 kDa antigen on the surface of the axial filament structure. The early appearance of specific antibody to this polypeptide in infected man and rabbit indicates that such Mabs are potentially useful for the diagnosis of early syphilis.


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