Differentiation between non-virulent and virulent Burkholderia pseudomallei with monoclonal antibodies to the Ara+ or Ara- biotypes.

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  • 1 Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Burkholderia pseudomallei is the causative agent of melioidosis, a fatal tropical infectious disease endemic in Southeast Asia. Environmental isolates of B. pseudomallei have two distinctive biotypes. Some soil isolates are arabinose-assimilators (Ara+ biotype) and are non-virulent in experimental animals. The others cannot assimilate arabinose (Ara- biotype) and are virulent in experimental animals. The Ara- biotype is found in almost all B. pseudomallei clinical isolates. In the present study, a panel of eight monoclonal antibodies that agglutinate the bacteria were produced and tested. The first group, Bps-D2, -D3, -D5, -L1, and -L2 agglutinated 100% of Ara+ clinical and soil isolates of B. pseudomallei. Another group Bps-A1, -A2, and -D1 agglutinated 92.9% and 90.9% of Ara- clinical and soil isolates, respectively. This panel of monoclonal antibodies may be useful for rapid differentiation between non-virulent Ara+ and virulent Ara- B. pseudomallei.

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