The present invention provides a group B streptococcal (GBS) surface antigen, designated epsilon antigen, that is co-expressed with the delta antigen on a subset of serotype III GBS. Epsilon is expressed on more pathogenic Restriction Digest Pattern (RDP) III-3 GBS, but not on RDP types 1, 2, or 4. Accordingly, the present invention provides compositions and methods for detecting a group B streptococcus serotype III, RDP III-3 strain. Vaccines and methods of identifying agents which inhibit adhesion of a group B streptococcal cell to a host cell are also provided.
This invention was made in the course of research sponsored by the Department of Energy (Grant No. DE-FG09-93ER-20097), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (Grant No. DE07200), National Institutes of Health (Grant No. P30 CA21765, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Grant No. A140918). The U.S. government may have certain rights in this invention.