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Nucleotide And Deduced Amino Acid Sequences For The Four Variable Domains Of The Major Outer Membrane Proteins Of The 15 Chlamydia Trachomatis Serovars

Y Yuan, Y X Zhang, N G Watkins, H D Caldwell

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The amino acid sequences of major outer membrane proteins (MOMPs) from Chlamydia trachomatis serovars A, B, C, L1, and L2 are predominantly conserved but have four variable domains (VDs) in which major neutralizing and serotyping antigenic determinants are located. Because these MOMP VDs are primarily responsible for antigenic differences between serovars and are associated with important immunological and biological properties, we undertook studies focused on defining these sequences within the MOMPs of all 15 C. trachomatis serovars. We used oligonucleotide primer extension sequencing of MOMP mRNA to determine the nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of the four MOMP VDs of the 15 C. trachomatis serovars. Comparative amino acid sequence homologies of all four domains separated the serovars into three groups: group 1, serovars B, Ba, D, E, L1, and L2; group 2, serovars G and F; and group 3, serovars A, C, H, I, J, K, and L3. Hydrophilicity and charge values for each domain were determined. The MOMP VDs of given serovars with the greatest total hydrophilicity and charge values were found to be the location of antigenic determinants recognized by MOMP-specific monoclonal antibodies. These findings should be useful for predicting MOMP antigenic determinants and testing the antigenic properties of these VDs by using synthetic peptides corresponding to each MOMP VD. The potential usefulness of the VD sequence information is discussed in relation to the development of defined synthetic peptides and oligonucleotides that may be used to develop new serological and diagnostic assays for C. trachomatis infections.