Summary: With the aim of characterizing specific immunogenic proteins of subsp. small colony (SC) type, the aetiological agent of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia, a gene encoding a major immunogenic protein of 72 kDa named P72 was cloned and expressed in The expressed protein was of the same apparent molecular mass as that produced by the parent strain. The predicted molecular mass of P72, based on the DNA-deduced amino acid sequence, was 61.118 kDa, significantly lower than the apparent molecular mass of endogenous or recombinant P72 on SDS-PAGE. Analysis of the amino acid sequence revealed a typical prokaryotic signal peptidase II - membrane lipoprotein lipid attachment site and a transmembrane structure domain in the leader sequence at the amino-terminal end of the protein. P72 was shown to be a lipoprotein and its surface location was confirmed by trypsin treatment of whole cells. An unassigned gene encoding a peptide with some similarity to P72 was found on the genome sequence of subsp. but not on that of The P72 gene was detected in 11/11 subsp. SC strains. Antiserum against recombinant P72 reacted strongly with 12/12 strains of subsp. SC, weakly with bovine group 7 strain PG50, but not with other members of the cluster’ or closely related mycoplasmas. Cows experimentally contact-infected with subsp. SC developed a humoral response against P72 within 35 d. P72 is a specific antigenic membrane lipoprotein of subsp. SC with potential for use in development of diagnostic reagents. It seems to belong to a family of lipoproteins of the cluster’.


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