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The use of oligonucleotide probes for meningococcal serotype characterization

In the present study we examine the potential use of oligonucleotide probes to characterize Neisseria meningitidis serotypes without the use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Antigenic diversity on PorB protein forms the bases of serotyping method. However, the current panel of MAbs underestimated, by at least 50% the PorB variability, presumably because reagents for several PorB variable regions (VRs) are lacking, or because a number of VR variants are not recognized by serotype-defining MAbs12. We analyzed the use of oligonucleotide probes to characterize serotype 10 and serotype 19 of N. meningitidis. The porB gene sequence for the prototype strain of serotype 10 was determined, aligned with 7 other porB sequences from different serotypes, and analysis of individual VRs were performed. The results of DNA probes 21U (VR1-A) and 615U (VR3-B) used against 72 N. meningitidis strains confirm that VR1 type A and VR3 type B encode epitopes for serotype-defined MAbs 19 and 10, respectively. The use of probes for characterizing serotypes possible can type 100% of the PorB VR diversity. It is a simple and rapid method specially useful for analysis of large number of samples.

Neisseria meningitidis; Serotyping; porB gene

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