The expression of two cell-bound haemagglutinins, one sensitive to -fucose (FSHA) and the other to -mannose (MSHA), on O1 strains of both the classical and the El Tor biotypes was studied by (i) agglutination of chicken and human group O erythrocytes in the presence of -fucose or -mannose, (ii) binding of the bacteria to -fucose- and -mannose-coated agarose beads, and (iii) agglutination of the bacteria by ‘biotype-specific’ antisera. All of the 12 classical strains studied that were isolated before 1979 gave FSHA of human O erythrocytes whereas only 6 of 17 classical strains isolated during recent epidemics expressed FSHA; a few of the classical strains expressed MSHA in addition to FSHA. All the El Tor strains gave MSHA of chicken erythrocytes and one strain also expressed FSHA. Both the cell-bound HAs were optimally expressed during the exponential phase of growth; FSHA markedly decreased during the late exponential phase while the MSHA usually persisted into the stationary phase. The expression of FSHA and MSHA correlated very well with the direct binding of vibrios to fucose- and mannose-coated agarose beads, respectively. Antiserum ‘specific’ for classical vibrios agglutinated classical strains expressing FSHA and also the El Tor strain exhibiting FSHA. Similarly, the anti-El Tor serum agglutinated all El Tor strains and also classical strains expressing MSHA, suggesting that the ‘biotype-specific’ sera were specific for the biotype-associated cell-bound HAs.


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