A rat monoclonal antibody, LO SM2, of the immunoglobulin M class, specific for a saliva receptor (SR) from Streptococcus mutans serotype f, was able to precipitate the SR from crude cell-wall-associated antigens (WEA) of this bacteria in presence of a detergent mixture. We have then used the technique of monoclonal-antibody immunoaffinity chromatography to purify the S. mutans SR. Pure SR was obtained from a crude WEA fraction with a single chromatographic step. The active SR could be eluted from the column in a highly purified form with 0.2 M-glycine/HC1, pH 2.8. The final yield was about 32% in terms of binding activity. Characterization of the SR by crossed immunoelectrophoresis, sodium dodecyl sulphate- or 4-30%-native-gradient-polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis showed that the receptor is a single polypeptide chain of Mr approx. 74000. Native or denaturated forms of the SR adsorbed on to a solid support, such as nitrocellulose, are recognized by monoclonal antibody LO SM2, and both forms are still able to bind the ligand, saliva.

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