Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Weigla 12, 53-114, Wrocław, Poland.
Background: Citrobacter strains are opportunistic pathogens often responsible for serious enteric as well as extra-intestinal diseases, and therefore the O-antigenic scheme, still in use in diagnostic identification, should be set for proper serotyping. The structures of more than 30 different Citrobacter O-antigens (O-polysaccharide chains of the lipopolysaccharides) of 43 Citrobacter O-serogroups have been elucidated so far. However, relationships between strains in several heterogeneous serogroups still need to be clarified by immunochemical studies. These include complex serogroups O3 and O8, represented by 20 and 7 strains, respectively, which are the subject of the present work. Earlier, the O-polysaccharide structures have been determined for Citrobacter O3 strain Be35/57 (PCM 1508) and Citrobacter O8 strain Be64/57 (PCM 1536).
Results: Serological studies (immunoblotting) carried out on Citrobacter lipopolysaccharides from different strains ascribed to serogroups O3 and O8 showed that each of these serogroups should be divided into non-cross-reacting subgroups. Based on the results of chemical analyses and H and C NMR spectroscopy the structure of Citrobacter O-antigens from strains PCM 1504 (O6) and PCM 1573 (O2) have been established. Chemical data combined with serological analyses showed that several Citrobacter strains should be reclassified into other serogroups.
Conclusions: Immunochemical studies carried out on Citrobacter LPS, described in this paper, showed the expediency of reclassification of: 1) strains PCM 1504 and PCM 1573 from serogroups O6 and O2 to serogroups O3 and O8, respectively, 2) strains PCM 1503 and PCM 1505 from serogroups O3 and O8 to new serogroups O3a and O8a, respectively.
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