Variation in epitopes of the B subunit of cholera toxin (CT-B) produced by strains of El Tor and classical biotype O1 was examined using monoclonal antibodies prepared to 569B CT. CT-B epitopes were markedly conserved for classical biotypes. In contrast, epitope variation was observed for El Tor biotypes, which produced both a classical-like CT-B and a unique CT-B lacking at least one epitope common to 569B CT-B. The missing epitope was located outside the GM ganglioside-binding site. From results of the study reported here, genetic divergence is exhibited in the El Tor biotype CT-B versus classical CT-B. Furthermore, at least five unique epitopes of 569B CT-B can be defined.


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