is a bovine pathogen able to cause systemic disease. It possesses a series of prominent, structurally related yet clearly distinguishable membrane lipoproteins on the cell surface. These variable surface proteins (Vsps) undergo highly dynamic and spontaneous changes in size and expression and are key immunogenic components. They may play a critical role as mediators of adherence to host cells and in escaping immune destruction. In this report, we define a novel, Vsp-unrelated membrane protein also associated with surface antigenic variation. This protein has an apparent molecular mass of 67000 Da in the type strain PG45 and was designated pMB67. Immunological and biochemical characterization of pMB67 demonstrated that it: (i) contains a specific epitope, (ii) is not modified by lipid but does contain cysteine, (iii) does not contain a Vsp-like repetitive periodic protein structure, (iv) is a predominant antigen recognized during infections, (v) undergoes a high rate of phase variation and (vi) is size-variable. These results showed that employs two types of specialized membrane proteins for surface diversification. The pMB67 protein may be useful in diagnostic assays and as a vaccine component.


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