Preparations of E. coli 014 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contain a common enterobacterial antigen (CA) in large amounts or in an immunogenic form. Chemical analysis revealed, in addition to o-acetyl groups, only those sugars which are present in the basal core structure of the E. coli or Salmonella LPS (e.g., galactose, glucose, glucosamine, heptose, and ketodeoxyoctonate). On treatment with acetic acid (pH 3.2) at 100°C for 1.5 hr, a fragment was liberated which after gel filtration on Sephadex G-50 appeared in the molecular weight range of 2–3 x 103. The fragment inhibited precipitation of alkali-treated E. coli 014 LPS by antibodies to CA from anti-E. coli 014 serum. It also inhibited hemagglutination between anti-CA antibodies and red cells coated with E. coli 08 LPS. Chemical analysis of the fragment indicated that it corresponded to the core region of E. coli 014 LPS. It contained a heptose and ketodeoxyoctonate in addition to glucose and galactose. However the fraction lacked glucosamine.
Enterobacterial CA has previously been found to cross-react with colon antigen of ulcerative colitis. These results should provide a chemical basis for further studies of this cross-reactivity.