Rickettsia β-peptide Reactivity with Immune IgM

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Rickettsia β-peptide Reactivity with Immune IgM


Fuller, L.; Ordanza, S.; Reyna, J.


Spotted Fever Group (SFG) Rickettsia species maintain an s-layer with two major outer membrane proteins (OmpA and OmpB) aligned within a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) matrix external to the bacterial outer membrane. While the two typhus group species (R. typhi and R. prowazekii) maintain a similar s-layer containing only OmpB with its own specific form of LPS. A major component of these two types of OmpB is a specific and highly conserved beta peptide ({beta}-peptide) non-covalently attached to the respective OmpB passenger domain. This {beta}-peptide is initially translated as the c-terminus of the 168 kDa polypeptide and initially forms a membrane pore to allow the larger passenger domain to exit the bacterial cytoplasm through the outer membrane. Prior to the full exit of this passenger domain from the cytoplasm the long polypeptide chain is cleaved by a peptidase, leaving the c-terminus remaining as a beta-folded membrane pore and the N-terminal passenger domain exiting to the space between the bacterial membrane and the s-layer. The fate of this pore structure and the attachment of {beta}-peptide to the OmpB continues to be examined and will be discussed as another protective component of the Rickettsia. An EIA IgM assay has been developed to utilize this antigen for clinical diagnostic use to accurately detect acute rickettsial infection in testing labs and lead to the availability of rapid test (lateral flow) formats for more immediate testing.

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