Monoclonal antibodies directed against gonococcal protein I vary in bactericidal activity

K. A. Joiner, K. A. Warren, M. Tam, M. M. Frank

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30 Scopus citations


Monoclonal antibodies (Mab) with specificity for protein I (PI) from Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) were examined for bactericidal activity. Mab 4G5 (γ3), 1D3 (γ(2a)), and 1G6 (γ(2a)) bound to surface-exposed epitopes on PI of GC strain R11 (IA serotype) as assessed by co-agglutination and 125I protein A uptake. Mab 2H1 (γ3) that were directed against IB serotype strains and Mab 2E9 (γ(2a)) were negative in co-agglutination and protein A uptake assays and served as controls for some experiments. Only 4G5 and 1D3 were bactericidal for R11 when presensitized organisms were incubated in 10% absorbed, pooled normal human serum (PNHS) or 10% hypogammaglobulinemic serum (HγS) despite binding of nearly equivalent numbers of 4G5, 1D3, and 1G6 to R11 during presensitization, as assessed by 125I-protein A uptake. These Mab activated complement to a similar extent on GC R11, leading to deposition of 56.4 x 103, 61.9 x 103, and 47.1 x 103 molecules of C3/organism during incubation in 10% C8-deficient serum. Deposition occurred almost exclusively via the classical complement pathway. Measurement of complement component C9 binding to R11 during incubation in HγS showed 35,700 molecules of C9/organism with 4G5, 32,600 C9/organism with 1D3, and surprisingly, 29,600 C9/organism with 1G6. Eight thousand four hundred molecules of C9/organism bound to 2E9-coated organisms, 6000 C9/organism to 2H1-coated bacteria, and 3600 C9/organism to nonpresensitized organisms. The C5b-9 complex deposited by 4G5 had a different sedimentation profile by sucrose density gradient analysis from the C5b-9 complex deposited by 1G6, consistent with a different molecular configuration of the bound complex. Mab 1G6 and 1D3, but not 2E9 or 2H1, were able to compete with 125I-4G5 for binding to GC R11. A Mab (2E6) directed against protein III of GC competed weakly with 125I-4G5 for binding to GC R11. Mab 1G6, but not 1D3, blocked 4G5-dependent killing in a dose-related fashion. Both 4G5 and 1G6 reacted weakly with native PI of GC R11 by immunoblotting, but neither Mab recognized the 34,800 m.w. fragment of PI generated by trypsin and chymotrypsin treatment of outer membranes. In contrast, 2E9 reacted strongly by immunoblot with both native and cleaved PI of GC R11, suggesting binding to buried determinants of PI. These experiments show that Mab directed against identical or closely associated, surface-exposed epitopes on gonococcal PI differ markedly in bactericidal activity, despite leading to deposition of nearly equivalent numbers of C3 and C9 molecules per organism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3411-3419
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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