The principal surface protein antigen of Chlamydia trachomatis is the major outer membrane protein (MOMP). The MOMP is antigenically complex. Among the 15 serovars of C. trachomatis, mAbs define serovar-, subspecies-, and species-specific determinants on MOMP. The molecular basis of the antigenic diversity of these proteins is reflected in amino acid variable sequence domains. We have mapped the dominant topographic antigenic determinants of MOMP that are defined by mAbs. Using recombinant DNA approaches we have identified the linear distribution of two antigenic domains. One domain contains a serovar-specific determinant and the other contains subspecies- and species-specific determinants. These antigenic domains correspond to two amino acid sequence variable domains. Synthetic peptides were immunogenic and these resolved the serovar-specific determinant within a 14-amino acid peptide. The subspecies- and species-specific determinants were overlapping within a 16-amino acid peptide.

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