SUMMARY: Immunization of rabbits with outer membranes (OM) of produced antibodies directed against outer-membrane proteins PI and PHI. The antibodies directed against PIII reacted equally well on Western blots with all strains tested, but antibodies directed against PI reacted only with the homologous strain. When purified PIB was used for immunization the immune response was quite different: the sera obtained reacted with both homologous and heterologous PIB types and also reacted with strains expressing PIA. Western blotting of peptides produced by sequential cleavage of PIB revealed that the antigenic determinants recognized by anti-OM sera were predominantly located in the central surface-exposed region of PIB, as is the epitope recognized by the protective anti-PIB monoclonal antibody SM24. In contrast antibodies produced by immunization with purified PI reacted with antigenic determinants in the N-terminal portion of PIB. Nevertheless these determinants are accessible to immune attack on the native protein since the anti-PI sera were opsonic and were strongly bactericidal for both PIA- and PIB-expressing strains.


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