Hyaluronate (HA) was previously demonstrated to be immunogenic in rabbits. The immunogenicity of HA in mice was studied. Hyaluronidase-digested streptococcal HA (IA1) covalently linked to liposomes (IA1-liposomes) were produced for immunization. Mice immunized with IA1-liposomes developed measurable serum antibodies to IA1, while mice immunized with IA1 in Freund's adjuvant did not. mAbs produced by two stable hybridomas (10G6 and 5F11) from mice immunized with IA1-liposomes produced IgG antibody reactive with HA in ELISA. 10G6 had a much higher avidity for liposome-bound IA1 than free IA1, while 5F11 did not, suggesting that the mode of presentation of IA1 is important in HA immunogenicity and antigenicity. Both mAbs recognized terminal HA immunodeterminants exposed by hyaluronidase treatment. Sonication had no effect on HA reactivity for either mAb. However, ascorbic acid treatment significantly reduced the antigenicity of HA for mAb 5F11, but not 10G6. Only 10G6 was inhibited by glucuronic acid. Electrostatic forces appear to play a role in the binding site of 5F11, but not 10G6. 5F11 crossreacts with heparan sulfate and phosphorylcholine, while 10G6 did not crossreact with any glycosaminoglycans or phosphorylated compounds tested. These results confirm that HA is immunogenic. They suggest that the mode of presentation of HA is important for the induction of the immune response, and in HA antigenicity. At least two different antigenic sites on HA were demonstrated. 10G6 recognizes a terminal HA antigenic site expressed on IA1-liposomes that contains glucuronic acid in its immunodominant site. 5F11 recognizes an HA antigenic site in which electrostatic forces appear to play a role, is sensitive to ascorbic acid treatment, and is crossreactive with heparan sulfate. The use of mAbs should facilitate immunologic studies of HA.

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