Murine monoclonal antibodies specific for virulent Treponema pallidum (Nichols)

S. M. Robertson, J. R. Kettman, J. N. Miller, M. V. Norgard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Murine anti-Treponema pallidum (Nichols) lymphocyte hybridoma cell lines secreting monoclonal antibodies against a variety of treponemal antigens have been generated. Hybridomas isolated were of three major types: those that were directed specifically against T. pallidum antigens, those that were directed against treponemal group antigens (as evidenced by their cross-reactivity with T. phagedenis biotype Reiter antigens), and those that cross-reacted with both treponemal as well as rabbit host testicular tissue antigens. The majority (31 of 39 clones) of these anti-T. pallidum hybridomas, which produced monoclonal antibodies of mouse isotypes immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1), IgG2a, IgG2b, IgG3 or IgM, were directed specifically against T. pallidum and not other treponemal or rabbit antigens tested by radioimmunoassay. Four of these T. pallidum-specific hybridomas secreted monoclonal antibodies with greater binding affinity for 'aged' rather than freshly isolated intact T. pallidum cells, suggesting a possible specificity for 'unmasked' surface antigens of T. pallidum. Six anti-T. pallidum hybridomas produced complement-fixing monoclonal antibodies (IgG2a, IgG2b, or IgM) that were capable of immobilizing virulent treponemes in the T. pallidum immobilization (TPI) test; these may represent biologically active monoclonal antibodies against treponemal surface antigens. Three other hybridomas secreted monoclonal antibodies which bound to both T. pallidum and T. phagedenis biotype Reiter antigens, thus demonstrating a possible specificity for treponemal group antigens. Five hybridoma cell lines were also isolated which produced IgM monoclonal antibodies that cross-reacted with all treponemal and rabbit host testicular tissue antigens employed in the radioimmunoassays. This report describes the construction and characteristics of these hybridoma cell lines. The potential applications of the anti-T. pallidum monoclonal antibodies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1076-1085
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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