SUMMARY: A series of overlapping peptides spanning the deduced amino acid sequence of outer-membrane protein PHI of have been synthesized on solid-phase supports. The peptides were used in an attempt to locate the epitopes recognized by anti-PIII monoclonal antibodies with defined biological properties. Four bactericidal and two nonbactericidal antibodies were reacted with the synthetic peptides. None of the bactericidal antibodies reacted with the linear peptides. However, the two nonbactericidal antibodies were found to react within the disulphide loop thought to be exposed on the bacterial surface. Monoclonal antibody SM51 recognized a decapeptide corresponding to amino acid residues 24–33, while monoclonal antibody SM50 recognized an octapeptide contained within the decapeptide. The difference in the ability of the two antibodies to block the bactericidal effect of antibodies directed against other surface antigens therefore appears to be related to a difference in their ability to activate complement rather than to the location of the epitope recognized.


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