O antigen

The lipopolysaccharide-protein somatic antigens, usually from gram-negative bacteria, important in the serological classification of enteric bacilli. The O-specific chains determine the specificity of the O antigens of a given serotype. O antigens are the immunodominant part of the lipopolysaccharide molecule in the intact bacterial cell. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed).