Alginates from nine mucoid Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates from patients with cystic fibrosis were purified by repeated ethanol precipitation, nuclease digestion, anion-exchange chromatography, dialysis, and lyophilization. Uronic acid constituted 72% of the dry weight when mannuronolactone was used as the internal standard in the carbazole-borate assay for uronic acids. The average degree of acetylation was 16%, and the ratio of mannuronic acid to gluluronic acid was 4.7. No homopolymeric blocks of guluronic acid were found when analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Contaminating proteins were denatured by heating, and during purification the content of protein relative to alginate fell from 566 to 0.9%. The content of lipopolysaccharide was 0.012%. No immunological or biological activity was attributable to the protein or lipopolysaccharide content as estimated by immunoblotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and a neutrophil chemotaxis assay. Rabbits were hyperimmunized with P. aeruginosa alginates and alginate from the seaweed Laminaria hyperborea, and an ELISA that detected alginate-specific antibodies was developed. Antibodies to P. aeruginosa alginate were detected by ELISA in 1:4,000 dilutions of serum from patients with cystic fibrosis with chronic P. aeruginosa lung infection. The serological cross-reactions between serum from the nine patients with cystic fibrosis and the corresponding P. aeruginosa alginates were investigated and showed considerable heterogeneity. This finding indicates that P. aeruginosa alginate from more than one P. aeruginosa strain should be used in serological tests. There was no serological cross-reactivity between P. aeruginosa and Laminaria hyperborea alginate in either rabbits or patients with cystic fibrosis
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