A glycolipid antigen possessing a serovar-specific antigenic determinant of Leptospira interrogans serovar canicola was purified from a chloroform/methanol extract of the organism. The purification procedures included silicic acid column chromatography and preparative thin-layer chromatography (TLC). Antigenic activity was detected by a TLC-enzyme immunostaining technique using monoclonal antibody CT3, which specifically agglutinates serovar canicola and only weakly serovar sumneri but no other serovars of Leptospira. The purified glycolipid reacted with CT3 antibody, indicating that the glycolipid possessed a serovar-specific antigenic determinant. Infrared spectrum and proton nuclear magnetic resonance analyses showed that the glycolipid contained sugar and lipid moieties, which possessed amide linkages and an acetyl group. Gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that the glycolipid contained two unknown sugars, one of which (unknown sugar II) appeared to be associated with the antigenic determinant specific for canicola. The serovar-specific antigenic determinant was destroyed by mild alkali treatment of the glycolipid. These findings suggested that the antigenic determinant was an alkali-labile moiety which may be related to the unknown sugar II.
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