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Cell Wall Components and Antigenic Structure
Membrane glycolipids and proteins are the major antigenic determinants of the mycoplasmas. Membrane glycolipid anti-gens show cross-reaction with human tissues and other bacte-ria. These antigens are identified by complement fixation tests. Glycolipids with similar antigenic structure have been demon-strated in neurons in human brain. The antibodies against M.pneumoniae glycolipid may cross-react with brain cell, therefore,causing damage to neuronal cells. This cell damage possibly is responsible for neurological manifestations of M. pneumoniae infection.
M. pneumoniae possesses two major surface proteinsincluding the adhesion protein P1, which is responsible for attachment of bacteria to cell structures. These protein anti-gens are identified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The P1 protein induces production of antibodies, which not only react with P1 protein but also react with anti-genic determinants of RBCs, leading to lysis of erythrocytes in autoimmune disease process.
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