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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Expression of Haemophilus influenzae type b idiotype 1 on naturally acquired antibodies.

The Chinese population in Hong Kong has a low incidence of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b(Hib) disease, as well as carriage of the microorganism. Likely stimuli for the natural antibodies to Hib, which might protect against Hib infection, are cross-reactive antigens of bacteria like Escherichia coli K 100. Our aim was to determine the isotype and idiotype distribution and cross-reactivity of natural antibodies against Hib capsular polysaccharide (CP) in healthy Hong Kong Chinese. Titration of 20 sera by ELISA showed IgG antibodies reacting with Hib CP in all individuals. The antibodies were mainly IgG2, and their avidity index ranged widely. Isoelectric focusing (IEF) combined with immunoblotting showed patterns of IgG2 antibody clones against the CP of Hib and E. coli K 100 which were similar in 10 cases. Absorption with Hib CP only eliminated some bands in two sera. Absorption with K 100 CP did not remove any anti-Hib CP bands. In three sera additional clones of antibodies reacting to K 100 CP only, disappeared after absorption with this CP. Spectrotypic analyses of IgG antibodies reacting with anti-Hib idiotype 1 (Id-1) revealed stronger IEF patterns with bands in differing locations compared with anti-Hib CP antibodies. The strong reactivity of serum IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies with monoclonal anti-Hib Id-1 was confirmed by ELISA. This reactivity was not abolished after absorption of the sera with either Hib CP, or K 100 CP. The data indicate a high prevalence of Id-1 among Hong Kong Chinese. However, only one individual had Id-1 antibodies specific for Hib CP, judging from absorption experiments. Others had much lower activity of Id-1 anti-Hib CP antibodies compared with the total IgG Id-1, suggesting that Hong Kong subjects have Id-1-positive antibodies in their serum which are not specific for Hib CP. This is consistent with the nature of Id-1, which is a marker of A2VL region usage rather than a marker of a Hib CP paratope. We suggest that natural antibodies reacting with Hib CP in healthy Hong Kong Chinese are the product of exposure to some cross-reactive antigen(s), different from both Hib and E. coli K 100 CP.[1]


  1. Expression of Haemophilus influenzae type b idiotype 1 on naturally acquired antibodies. Ulanova, M., Hahn-Zoric, M., Lau, Y.L., Lucas, A., Hanson, L.A. Clin. Exp. Immunol. (1996) [Pubmed]
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