The FrpB protein from pathogenic neisseriae is a 77 kDa iron-regulated outer-membrane protein that belongs to the family of TonB-dependent receptors and may have potential as a vaccine component. Comparison between the gene from three different meningococcal strains and a published gonococcal one revealed that the region from residues 350 to 390 displays pronounced sequence variability. In a model for the topology of FrpB in the outer membrane, this region corresponds to loop 7, the longest of the predicted 13 surface-exposed loops. Binding of four out of a total of eight bactericidal monoclonal antibodies to synthetic peptides corresponding to loop 7 showed that their epitopes are located here. The genes from five additional meningococcal strains were cloned and sequenced in this region. Pairwise comparisons showed different degrees of similarity.


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