Summary: The P2 outer membrane protein of belongs to a class of apparently ubiquitous proteins in Gram-negative bacteria that function as porins. Murine hybridomas raised to the P2 protein and synthetic peptides were used to investigate the structural and antigenic relationships among P2 proteins of encapsulated and non-encapsulated . Three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), P2-17, P2-18 and P2-19, recognizing epitopes on the P2 protein, as shown by Western immunoblotting of outer membrane preparations, and purified and recombinant P2 proteins are described. The epitopes reactive with the mAbs were widely distributed among strains since 70-100% of strains of encapsulated and non-encapsulated isolates collected worldwide were recognized by individual mAbs. None of the mAbs reacted with or other bacterial species. The peptide composition of P2 epitopes was determined by analysis of mAb reactivity with a series of overlapping synthetic peptides that covered the amino acid sequences of type b. The domains recognized by these mAbs were completely distinct. mAb P2-18, reactive with an epitope conserved among all P2 porin molecules which were screened, recognized a peptide corresponding to the N-terminal segment (residues 1-14). The P2-17- and P2-19-specific epitopes were located between residues 28 and 55, and 101 and 129, respectively. None of the epitopes were exposed on the cell surface since no mAbs bound to intact live bacteria. The identification of epitopes that are shared among P2 proteins from different strains of encapsulated and non-encapsulated strains suggests that the P2 porin protein from all strains has been highly conserved and that these epitopes may represent amino acid residues critical to the porin's structure.


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