Bacterial Antigens

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THE results of recent work on the nature of certain of the bacterial antigens of gram-negative micro-organisms suggest that these substances are essentially polysaccharide-phospholipin complexes1. A further component, however, which contains 10 per cent nitrogen, has also been found2. Utilizing preparations of antigenic material which had been obtained by the trichloracetic acid method of Boivin1 or by the diethyleneglycol extraction method3, we have succeeded in removing the phospholipin component2 (N: P, 1: 1) from the antigenic complex of B. dysenteria (Shiga) without employing acid, alkaline or enzymic hydrolysis. The phospholipin component cannot be removed by extracting the complex with acetone, ether or ether-alcohol mixture, but is readily eliminated on treatment with a strongly polar solvent such as formamide (dielectric constant 84 at 20°). The antigen dissolves readily in this solvent to give clear, colourless solutions which can be used for the measurement of optical rotation.

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  1. 1

    Boivin and Mesrobeanu, C.R., Soc. Biol., 112, 76 (1933); Mesrobeanu and Calalb, C.R. Soc. Biol., 122, 496 (1936); Raistrick and Topley, Brit. J. Exp. Path., 15, 113 (1934).

  2. 2

    Morgan, Chem. and Industry, 57, 976 (1938).

  3. 3

    Morgan, Biochem. J., 31, 2003 (1937).

  4. 4

    Henderson, Brit. J. Exp. Path., 20, 11 (1939).

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MORGAN, W., PARTRIDGE, S. Bacterial Antigens. Nature 143, 1025–1026 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431025b0

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