Streptococcal mucopeptide, solubilized by either ultrasonic treatment or lysozyme, gave a precipitin reaction with rabbit antimucopeptide serum. A haptenic inhibitor of this reaction, which was composed of alanine, glutamic acid, and lysine in a mole ratio of 4:1:1, was isolated from a Streptomyces albus enzymes digest of Group D cell walls by ion exchange chromatography. When selected antisera were employed, greater than 90% inhibition of the mucopeptide quantitative precipitin reaction was achieved with 2 mg/ml of this inhibitor, whereas a hexosamine fraction with minimal concentrations of amino acid residues was inactive in this respect. These results suggest that the peptide moiety is an antigenic determinant of mucopeptide.
Preliminary results indicate that the hexosamine polymer of the mucopeptide is a secondary antigenic determinant.