A model of high-affinity antibody binding to type III group B Streptococcus capsular polysaccharide.

M. R. Wessels, A. Muñoz, D. L. Kasper

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We recently reported that the single repeating-unit pentasaccharide of type III group B Streptococcus (GBS) capsular polysaccharide is only weakly reactive with type III GBS antiserum. To further elucidate the relationship between antigen-chain length and antigenicity, tritiated oligosaccharides derived from type III capsular polysaccharide were used to generate detailed saturation binding curves with a fixed concentration of rabbit antiserum in a radioactive antigen-binding assay. A graded increase in affinity of antigen-antibody binding was seen as oligosaccharide size increased from 2.6 repeating units to 92 repeating units. These differences in affinity of antibody binding to oligosaccharides of different molecular size were confirmed by immunoprecipitation and competitive ELISA, two independent assays of antigen-antibody binding. Analysis of the saturation binding experiment indicated a difference of 300-fold in antibody-binding affinity for the largest versus the smallest tested oligosaccharides. Unexpectedly, the saturation binding values approached by the individual curves were inversely related to oligosaccharide chain length on a molar basis but equivalent on a weight basis. This observation is compatible with a model in which binding of an immunoglobulin molecule to an antigenic site on the polysaccharide facilitates subsequent binding of antibody to that antigen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9170-9174
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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