We report the DNA sequence of a previously cloned Mycobacterium bovis BCG gene encoding an immunogenic 64-kilodalton protein. This protein, MbaA, was purified from overproducing Escherichia coli K-12 cells, and the presence of antibodies to MbaA in human sera was determined by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. In about 80% of serum samples from tuberculosis patients and in about 60% of samples from BCG-vaccinated individuals, significant levels of anti-MbaA antibodies were found. Surprisingly, in about 30% of the control serum samples obtained from children, anti-MbaA antibodies were also observed. Guinea pigs sensitized with M. bovis BCG or MbaA showed a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction after challenge with purified MbaA, supporting the previously observed strong reactivity of human T-cell clones with this, for mycobacteria, common antigen
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