Differential recognition of the multiple banded antigen isoforms across Ureaplasma parvum and Ureaplasma urealyticum species by monoclonal antibodies

Aboklaish, A. F.; Ahmed, S.; McAllister, D.; Cassell, G.; Zheng, X. T.; Spiller, O. B.

J Microbiol Methods. 2016 May 22; 127:13-19


Two separate species of Ureaplasma have been identified that infect humans: Ureaplasma parvum and Ureaplasma urealyticum. Most notably, these bacteria lack a cell wall and are the leading infectious organism associated with infection-related induction of preterm birth. Fourteen separate representative prototype bacterial strains, called serovars, are largely differentiated by the sequence of repeating units in the C-terminus of the major surface protein: multiple-banded antigen (MBA). Monoclonal antibodies that recognise single or small groups of serovars have been previously reported, but these reagents remain sequestered in individual research laboratories. Here we characterise a panel of commercially available monoclonal antibodies raised against the MBA and describe the first monoclonal antibody that cross-reacts by immunoblot with all serovars of U. parvum and U. urealyticum species. We also describe a recombinant MBA expressed by Escherichia coli which facilitated further characterisation by immunoblot and demonstrate immunohistochemistry of paraffin-embedded antigens. Immunoblot reactivity was validated against well characterised previously published monoclonal antibodies and individual commercial antibodies were found to recognise all U. parvum strains, only serovars 3 and 14 or only serovars 1 and 6, or all strains belonging to U. parvum and U. urealyticum. MBA mass was highly variable between strains, consistent with variation in the number of C-terminal repeats between strains. Antibody characterisation will enable future investigations to correlate severity of pathogenicity to MBA isoform number or mass, in addition to development of antibody-based diagnostics that will detect infection by all Ureaplasma species or alternately be able to differentiate between U. parvum, U. urealyticum or mixed infections.

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