Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed human B lymphocytes were fused with a murine-human heteromyeloma to produce stable hybrid cell lines that secreted human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) of the IgM class that recognized conserved epitopes in the core-lipid A region of lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Three of the mAbs reacted with epitopes on the lipid A moiety, while a fourth recognized a determinant in the core oligosaccharide. The lipid A-specific mAbs cross-reacted with heterologous rough LPS and with lipid As released by acid hydrolysis of different intact (smooth) LPS. Carbohydrate groups in the O-side chain and core oligosaccharide of isolated, smooth LPS restricted antibody access to antigenic sites on lipid A. Yet, one lipid A-reactive mAb recognized its epitope on the surfaces of a variety of intact bacteria. These findings confirm the presence of highly conserved epitopes in the core-lipid A complex and prove the existence of human B cell clones with the potential for secreting high avidity IgM antibodies that react with these widely shared determinants. Such human mAbs might provide protective activity against disease caused by diverse gram-negative bacteria.
M Pollack, A A Raubitschek, J W Larrick