The O-antigenic specificities found among salmonellae of serogroup C are O:67, O:67, O:667 and O:6,7,14, as defined by classical serology. Factor O:7 is the group-wide determinant while factors O:6 O:6 and O:14 are found in some strains but not others. Strains of the O:67 specificity are subject to lysogenic conversion by phages 6 and 14 to the O:67 and O:6,7,14 specificities, respectively. To further delineate antigenic complexity and serological relationships among strains of this serogroup monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were generated against the O:667 polysaccharide of Five mAbs of either the O:6 or the O:6 specificities did not bind O:6,7,14 strains or LPS, showing that the O:6 determinant in these strains is neither O:6 nor O:6. Thus antigenic conversion of O:67 strains by phage 14 is accompanied by addition of O:14 as well as loss of O:6 Three mAbs which demonstrated group-wide reactivity, and were thus specific for O:7, recognized clearly separable epitopes hereby defined as sub-specificities, O:7 O:7 and O:7 Immunoblotting of mAbs against electrophoretically resolved LPS showed that factors O:6 and O:6 are expressed only in LPS molecules of high molecular mass whereas O:7 and O:7 are expressed only in relatively low-molecular-mass chains. These results are consistent with the expression of different antigenic determinants in structurally distinct subpopulations of O chains. The implication of the existence of distinct subpopulation of chains is that the published structure of the O:6,7 repeat unit is not fully representative of the O-antigenic structure of this group.


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