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Serotype: Wikis


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A serotype or serovar is a group of microorganisms, viruses, or cells classified together based on their cell surface antigens. Determining serotypes, the process of serotyping, can be based on a variety of factors, including virulence, lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in Gram-negative bacteria, presence of an exotoxin (such as pertussis toxin in Bordetella pertussis), plasmids, phages, genetic profile (such as determined by polymerase chain reaction), or other characteristics which differentiate two members of the same species.[1][2], allowing the epidemiologic classification of organisms to the sub-species level[1][3]. A group of serovars with common antigens is called a serogroup.

Serotyping often plays an essential role in determining species and subspecies. The salmonella genus of bacteria, for example, has been determined to have over 4400 serotypes, including Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, S. enterica serovar Typhi, and S. enterica serovar Dublin.[2] Vibrio cholerae, the species of bacteria that causes cholera, has 139 serotypes, based on cell antigens. Only two of them produce an enterotoxin and are pathogens: 0:1 and 0:139.

Serotypes were discovered by the American microbiologist Rebecca Lancefield in 1933.[4]


Role in organ transplantation

Agglutination of HLA-A3 positive red blood cells (RBCs) with anti-A3 alloreactive antisera containing Anti-A3 IgM

The immune system is capable of discerning a cell as being 'self' or 'non-self' according to that cell's serotype. In humans, that serotype is largely determined by human leukocyte antigen (HLA), the human version of the major histocompatibility complex. Cells determined to be non-self are usually recognized by the immune system as foreign, causing an immune response, such as hemagglutination. Serotypes differ widely between individuals; therefore, if cells from one human (or animal) are introduced into another random human, those cells are oftentimes determined to be non-self because they do not match the self-serotype. For this reason, transplants between genetically non-identical humans often induce a problematic immune response in the recipient, leading to transplant rejection. In some situations this effect can reduced by stereotyping both recipient and potential donors to determine the closest HLA match.[5]


Human leukocyte antigens

Serotypes according the HLA (MHC) locus
HLA # of Broad Split
Locus Serotypes Antigens Antigens
A 25 4 15
B 50 9
C* 12 1
DR 21 4
DQ 8 2
*DP and many Cw require SSP-PCR for typing.

See also


  1. ^ a b Baron EJ (1996). Classification. In: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al., eds.) (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. (via NCBI Bookshelf) ISBN 0-9631172-1-1.  
  2. ^ a b Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9.  
  3. ^ "serovar." The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Company 24 Oct. 2009
  4. ^ Lancefield RC (1933). "A serological differentiation of human and other groups of hemolytic streptococci" (abstract). J Exp Med 57: 571. doi:10.1084/jem.57.4.571.  
  5. ^ Christoph Frohn, Lutz Fricke, Jan-Christoph Puchta, and Holger Kirchner. The effect of HLA-C matching on acute renal transplant rejection. Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. 16: 355-360.

External links


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