A comparative chemical and serological study of the LPS of O139 and O22 was performed. Chemical analysis revealed that the sugar composition of the LPS of strain O22 was quite similar to that of O139 LPS. Each contained D-glucose, L--D--heptose, colitose (3,6-dideoxy-L-galactose), D-fructose, D-glucosamine, D-quinovosamine and D-galacturonic acid. The O-antigenic relationship between the two strains was analysed by passive haemolysis (PH) and passive haemolysis inhibition (PHI) tests with the respective LPS being used as antigens to sensitize sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and, in the latter case, as inhibitors in a PH system that consisted of LPS-sensitized SRBC, guinea-pig complement and anti-O139 or anti-O22 antiserum, both unabsorbed and absorbed with the heterologous antigen. In the PH experiment, unabsorbed anti-O139 antiserum had haemolytic titres of 66000 and 22000 against O139 LPS- and O22 LPS-sensitized SRBC, respectively; unabsorbed anti-O22 antiserum had haemolytic titres of 900 and 13000, respectively. Thus, the anti-O139 antiserum contained an antibody that reacted with a heterologous O22 antigen at a high titre (22000) and this antibody was completely removed from anti-O139 antiserum with the O22 antigen. The anti-O22 antiserum contained an antibody that reacted with the heterologous O139 antigen at a low titre (900) and this antibody was completely removed from anti-O22 antiserum with the O139 antigen. In PHI tests O139 LPS and O22 LPS each strongly inhibited (the ID of LPS ranged from 0.03 to 0.14 μg ml) the heterologous haemolytic systems of both O139 LPS-sensitized SRBC/anti-O22 antiserum and O22 LPS-sensitized SRBC/anti-O139 antiserm, which are substantially equivalent to the common antigen factor in the O139 LPS-sensitized SRBC/anti-O22 antiserum system and the common antigen factor in the O22 LPS-sensitized SRBC/anti-O139 antiserum system, respectively. The results indicated that the O antigen of O139 is closely related to that of O22 in an a,b-a,c type of relationship where a is common antigenic factor, b is an O139-specific antigenic factor and c is an O22-specific antigenic factor.


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