A protective epitope of Moraxella catarrhalis is encoded by two different genes

Christoph Aebi, Isobel Maciver, Jo L. Latimer, Leslie D. Cope, Marla K. Stevens, Sharon E. Thomas, George H. McCracken, Eric J. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The high-molecular-weight UspA protein of Moraxella catarrhalis has been described as being both present on the surface of all M. catarrhalis disease isolates examined to date and a target for a monoclonal antibody (MAb 17C7) which enhanced pulmonary clearance of this organism in a mouse model system (M. E. Helminen et al., J. Infect. Dis. 170:867-872, 1994). A recombinant bacteriophage that formed plaques which bound MAb 17C7 was shown to contain a M. catarrhalis gene, designated uspA1, that encoded a protein with a calculated molecular weight of 88,271. Characterization of an isogenic aspA1 mutant revealed that elimination of expression of UspA1 did not eliminate the reactivity of M. catarrhalis with MAb 17C7. In addition, N-terminal amino acid analysis of internal peptides derived from native UspA protein and Southern blot analysis of M. catarrhalis chromosomal DNA suggested the existence of a second UspA-like protein. A combination of epitope mapping and ligation-based PCR methods identified a second M. catarrhalis gene, designated uspA2, which also encoded the MAb 17C7-reactive epitope. The UspA2 protein had a calculated molecular weight of 62,483. Both the isogenic uspA1 mutant and an isogenic uspA2 mutant possessed the ability to express a very- high-molecular-weight antigen that bound MAb 17C7, Southern blot analysis indicated that disease isolates of M. catarrhalis likely possess both uspA1 and uspA2 genes. Both UspA1 and UspA2 most closely resembled adhesins produced by other bacterial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4367-4377
Number of pages11
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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