The phenomenon of apparent loss of group-specific carbohydrate in the course of mouse passage of group A streptococci has been subjected to further study, and several additional variants showing this property have been described. The loss of group reactivity is shown to be due to an alteration in the chemical structure and serological specificity of the cell wall carbohydrate. This alteration appears to be essentially the same in each of the variants available for study. The carbohydrate of the variant strains (V) contains the same two monosaccharide components as the group A carbohydrate (A), but they are present in different proportions. Precipitating sera reactive with V carbohydrate have been prepared, and the A and V carbohydrates have been compared by qualitative and quantitative precipitin analysis.
A second type of variation has been encountered during mouse passage. This variation is characterized by the occurrence of a cell wall carbohydrate (I) intermediate in chemical and serological properties between the A and V carbohydrates. The I carbohydrate reacts with both A and V antisera and does not appear to be a simple mixture of A and V carbohydrate. Similarly, antisera against the intermediate strain contain antibodies reactive with both A and V carbohydrates, and evidence is presented indicating that in part this represents antibody with double specificity.