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, 84 (5), 449-71

THE PROPERTIES OF T ANTIGENS EXTRACTED FROM GROUP A HEMOLYTIC STREPTOCOCCI

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THE PROPERTIES OF T ANTIGENS EXTRACTED FROM GROUP A HEMOLYTIC STREPTOCOCCI

R C Lancefield et al. J Exp Med.

Abstract

1. T antigens of group A hemolytic streptococci have been obtained in soluble form by digestion of the bacterial cells with pepsin or trypsin. Large quantities of this antigen were readily extracted from type 1 strains, whereas only small amounts could be obtained from strains of other types. 2. The T antigen, prepared in this way from a type 1 strain, was partially purified by chemical precipitation and further enzymatic digestion. An active fraction, apparently protein in nature, was separated electrophoretically at pH 7.00. The separated material, pooled and analyzed at the same pH, gave only a single peak. The isoelectric point of this substance was about pH 4.50. An elementary analysis was obtained. Although the T antigen was resistant to digestion with proteolytic enzymes and ribonuclease, it was readily inactivated by heat, especially in acid media and in strong salt solutions. The serological activity of this purified T substance was lost after exposure to ultraviolet radiation. 3. Analysis by means of the ultracentrifuge showed that the material was polydisperse and therefore probably impure. 4. The soluble form of the T substance was active in the precipitin reaction, in the fixation of complement, in inhibition of T agglutination, and as an antigen when injected into rabbits. The antibodies produced did not protect mice against infection with virulent strains of hemolytic streptococci containing the same T antigen. 5. The immunological specificity of T antigen in soluble form is the same as that of the T antigen in the intact streptococcus from which it was derived.

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