Group B streptococci (GBS) are classified by capsular polysaccharide (CPS) type and by cell surface-expressed proteins (c and R). Isolates lacking detectable CPS are considered nontypeable (NT) although they frequently express surface proteins. Immunological and genetic methods were used to study 91 NT GBS isolates collected during surveillance studies for invasive disease or colonization in pregnant or non-pregnant women and neonates less than seven days of age. CPS production was upregulated by the addition of glucose and sodium phosphate to Todd-Hewitt broth (THB) and cells were extracted using hot HCl or mutanolysin. Extracts were tested with antisera for specific CPS types Ia, Ib, and II-VIII by double immunodiffusion (DD) in agarose. By mutanolysin extraction, 12 (13.2%) of the 91 isolates were typeable. In contrast, only four of these 12 newly typeable isolates tested positive for CPS with the HCl extracts of cells grown in modified THB. DNA was analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SmaI restriction with NT isolates grouped by protein profile to facilitate analysis. PFGE results of the NT isolates were compared to DNA profiles of typeable isolates and were correlated with the DD results. The DNA profiles of the newly typeable isolates were similar to profiles of isolates with corresponding defined CPS type. Of the remaining 78 NT isolates digested by SmaI, 63 (80.8%) had DNA profiles that resembled those of specific types of GBS. These approaches will be useful for classification of NT isolates in continued epidemiological surveillance associated with GBS vaccine trials.
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Acknowledegments. This work was presented in part at the XIV Lancefield International Symposium on Streptococci and Streptococcal Diseases. This study was supported in part by Research Contract NO1-AI-75326 from the National Institutes of Health.
- Capsular polysaccharide
- DNA profiles
- Group B streptococci
- Non-typeable isolates