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1.  Identification of B Cell Epitopes in the MSG1 Protein of Mycoplasma suis 
Mycoplasma suis (M. suis) is an extracellular bacterial organism that attaches to and causes deformity and damage to porcine red blood cells. M. suis glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase-like protein 1 (MSG1), a membrane-associated adhesion protein, plays a major role in M. suis attachment and infection of porcine erythrocytes. In order to identify the epitopes in MSG1 protein of M. suis, recombinant MSG1 (rMSG1) expressed in Escherichia coli Top10 was purified with affinity chromatography and used to immunize BALB/c mice to prepare and screen monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). Western blot results showed that 1C10, 2F10, 4G10, and 10E9 can specifically react with recombinant MSG1 and M. suis. Moreover, 23 truncated fragments of MSG1 were amplified and cloned into pET-32a vector and induced by IPTG. Different recombinant truncated proteins were used to identify B cell epitopes in the rMSG1 protein. Epitope mapping revealed that MAb 1C10 recognizes the linear epitope D291THGSVF297; MAb 2F10 recognizes the linear epitope L251CLKI255; and MAbs 4G10 and 10E9 recognize the linear epitope I268KDGENE274. The alignment of MSG1 epitope sequences with that of different M. suis strains accessed on NCBI showed that one epitope is highly conserved in M. suis strains. This research is the first to examine the epitopes in MSG1 of M. suis and demonstrate the variations of epitopes.
PMCID: PMC4151056  PMID: 25171002
2.  Serologic Responses to Recombinant Pneumocystis jirovecii Major Surface Glycoprotein among Ugandan Patients with Respiratory Symptoms 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51545.
Little is known about the serologic responses to Pneumocystis jirovecii major surface glycoprotein (Msg) antigen in African cohorts, or the IgM responses to Msg in HIV-positive and HIV-negative persons with respiratory symptoms.
We conducted a prospective study of 550 patients, both HIV-positive (n = 467) and HIV-negative (n = 83), hospitalized with cough ≥2 weeks in Kampala, Uganda, to evaluate the association between HIV status, CD4 cell count, and other clinical predictors and antibody responses to P. jirovecii. We utilized ELISA to measure the IgM and IgG serologic responses to three overlapping recombinant fragments that span the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein: MsgA (amino terminus), MsgB (middle portion) and MsgC1 (carboxyl terminus), and to three variations of MsgC1 (MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9).
HIV-positive patients demonstrated significantly lower IgM antibody responses to MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9 compared to HIV-negative patients. We found the same pattern of low IgM antibody responses to MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9 among HIV-positive patients with a CD4 cell count <200 cells/µl compared to those with a CD4 cell count ≥200 cells/µl. HIV-positive patients on PCP prophylaxis had significantly lower IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC9, and lower IgG responses to MsgA, MsgC1, MsgC3, and MsgC8. In contrast, cigarette smoking was associated with increased IgM antibody responses to MsgC1 and MsgC3 but was not associated with IgG responses. We evaluated IgM and IgG as predictors of mortality. Lower IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC8 were both associated with increased in-hospital mortality.
HIV infection and degree of immunosuppression are associated with reduced IgM responses to Msg. In addition, low IgM responses to MsgC3 and MsgC8 are associated with increased mortality.
PMCID: PMC3528778  PMID: 23284710
3.  Mycoplasma suis Antigens Recognized during Humoral Immune Response in Experimentally Infected Pigs 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(1):116-122.
Today, serodiagnostic tests for Mycoplasma suis infections in pigs have low accuracies. The development of novel serodiagnostic strategies requires a detailed analysis of the humoral immune response elicited by M. suis and, in particular, the identification of antigenic proteins of the agent. For this study, indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunoblot analyses were performed using pre- and sequential postinoculation sera from M. suis-infected and mock-infected control pigs. M. suis purified from porcine blood served as the antigen. Eight M. suis-specific antigens (p33, p40, p45, p57, p61, p70, p73, and p83) were identified as targets of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody response during experimental infection, with p40, p45, and p70 being the preferentially recognized M. suis antigens. Besides the M. suis-specific antigens, porcine immunoglobulins were identified in blood-derived M. suis preparations. By immunoglobulin depletion, the specificity of the M. suis antigen for use in indirect ELISA was significantly improved. M. suis-specific Western blot and ELISA reactions were observed in all infected pigs by 14 days postinfection at the latest and until week 14, the end of the experiments. During acute clinical attacks of eperythrozoonosis, a derailment of the antibody response, determined by decreases in both the M. suis net ELISA values and the numbers of M. suis-specific immunoblot bands, was accompanied by peaking levels of autoreactive IgG antibodies. In conclusion, the M. suis-specific antigens found to stimulate specific IgG antibodies are potentially useful for the development of novel serodiagnostic tests.
PMCID: PMC1356629  PMID: 16426008
4.  Immunization with Heat Shock Protein A and γ-Glutamyl Transpeptidase Induces Reduction on the Helicobacter pylori Colonization in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(6):e0130391.
The human gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a successful colonizer of the stomach. H. pylori infection strongly correlates with the development and progression of chronic gastritis, peptic ulcer disease, and gastric malignances. Vaccination is a promising strategy for preventing H. pylori infection. In this study, we evaluated the candidate antigens heat shock protein A (HspA) and H. pylori γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) for their effectiveness in development of subunit vaccines against H. pylori infection. rHspA, rGGT, and rHspA-GGT, a fusion protein based on HspA and GGT, were constructed and separately expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Mice were then immunized intranasally with these proteins, with or without adjuvant. Immunized mice exhibited reduced bacterial colonization in stomach. The highest reduction in bacterial colonization was seen in mice immunized with the fusion protein rHspA-GGT when paired with the mucosal adjuvant LTB. Protection against H. pylori colonization was mediated by a strong systemic and localized humoral immune response, as well as a balanced Th1/Th2 cytokine response. In addition, immunofluorescence microscopy confirmed that rHspA-GGT specific rabbit antibodies were able to directly bind H. pylori in vitro. These results suggest antibodies are essential to the protective immunity associated with rHspA-GGT immunization. In summary, our results suggest HspA and GGT are promising vaccine candidates for protection against H. pylori infection.
PMCID: PMC4478016  PMID: 26102080
5.  Evidence for high prevalence of Pneumocystis jirovecii exposure among Cameroonians 
Acta tropica  2009;112(2):219-224.
Cameroon lacks the capacity for routine Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP) diagnosis thus, the prevalence of Cameroonian exposure to this microbe is unknown. It is known that Pneumocystis infecting different mammalian host species represent diverse phylogenetic backgrounds and are now designated as separate species. The highly sensitive nature of ELISA and the specificity afforded by using human-derived P. jirovecii Msg peptides has been shown to be useful for serological analysis of human sera. Thus, sera from patients in Yaoundé, the capital city of Cameroon, were analyzed for anti-P. jirovecii antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using three recombinant major surface glycoprotein (Msg) peptide fragments, MsgA1, MsgB, and MsgC1. Based on serum recognition of one or more of the three fragments, 82% of the total samples analyzed was positive for antibodies to P. jirovecii Msg, indicating high prevalence of P. jirovecii infection or colonization among Cameroonians. Different Msg fragments appear to be recognized more frequently by sera from different geographic regions of the globe. Antibodies in the Cameroonian serum samples recognized MsgA>MsgC>MsgB, suggesting that different P. jirovecii strains exist in different parts of the world and/or human populations differ in their response to P. jirovecii. Also, HIV+ patients diagnosed with respiratory infections (such as TB and pneumonia) and maintained on trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazol prophylaxis had relatively lower anti-Msg titers. Whether PcP prophylaxis has significant effects on the quality of life among HIV+ patients in Cameroon warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2761101  PMID: 19665440
glycoprotein (Msg); recombinant protein; serology; sub-Sahara Africa
6.  Geographical variation in serological responses to recombinant Pneumocystis jirovecii major surface glycoprotein antigens 
The use of recombinant fragments of the major surface glycoprotein (Msg) of Pneumocystis jirovecii has proven useful for studying serological immune responses of blood donors and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive (HIV+) patients. Here, we have used ELISA to measure antibody titres to Msg fragments (MsgA, MsgB, MsgC1, MsgC3, MsgC8 and MsgC9) in sera isolated in the USA and Spain, to determine whether geographical location affects serological responses to these antigens. Blood donors from Seville exhibited a significantly greater antibody titre to MsgC8, and significantly lower responses to MsgC3 and MsgC9, than did Cincinnati (USA) donors. Spanish blood donors also exhibited elevated responses to MsgC1, MsgC8 and MsgC9 as compared with Spanish HIV+ patients . HIV+ patients who had Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP+) exhibited a higher response to MsgC8 than did HIV+ PcP- patients. These data show that geographical location plays a role in responsiveness to Msg fragments. Additionally, these fragments have utility in differentiating between patient populations.
PMCID: PMC2766022  PMID: 19416292
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7.  Inorganic pyrophosphatase in uncultivable hemotrophic mycoplasmas: identification and properties of the enzyme from Mycoplasma suis 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:194.
Mycoplasma suis belongs to a group of highly specialized hemotrophic bacteria that attach to the surface of host erythrocytes. Hemotrophic mycoplasmas are uncultivable and the genomes are not sequenced so far. Therefore, there is a need for the clarification of essential metabolic pathways which could be crucial barriers for the establishment of an in vitro cultivation system for these veterinary significant bacteria.
Inorganic pyrophosphatases (PPase) are important enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of inorganic pyrophosphate PPi to inorganic phosphate Pi. PPases are essential and ubiquitous metal-dependent enzymes providing a thermodynamic pull for many biosynthetic reactions. Here, we describe the identification, recombinant production and characterization of the soluble (s)PPase of Mycoplasma suis.
Screening of genomic M. suis libraries was used to identify a gene encoding the M. suis inorganic pyrophosphatase (sPPase). The M. suis sPPase consists of 164 amino acids with a molecular mass of 20 kDa. The highest identity of 63.7% was found to the M. penetrans sPPase. The typical 13 active site residues as well as the cation binding signature could be also identified in the M. suis sPPase. The activity of the M. suis enzyme was strongly dependent on Mg2+ and significantly lower in the presence of Mn2+ and Zn2+. Addition of Ca2+ and EDTA inhibited the M. suis sPPase activity. These characteristics confirmed the affiliation of the M. suis PPase to family I soluble PPases. The highest activity was determined at pH 9.0. In M. suis the sPPase builds tetramers of 80 kDa which were detected by convalescent sera from experimentally M. suis infected pigs.
The identification and characterization of the sPPase of M. suis is an additional step towards the clarification of the metabolism of hemotrophic mycoplasmas and, thus, important for the establishment of an in vitro cultivation system. As an antigenic and conserved protein the M. suis sPPase could in future be further analyzed as a diagnostic antigen.
PMCID: PMC2916918  PMID: 20646294
8.  Seroepidemiological study of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection in healthy infants in Chile using recombinant fragments of the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein 
To characterize the seroepidemiological features of Pneumocystis jirovecii infection in healthy Chilean children using overlapping fragments (A, B, C) of the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein (Msg).
Serum antibodies to MsgA, MsgB, and MsgC were measured every 2 months by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 45 Chilean infants from about age 2 months to 2 years.
Peak antibody levels (usually reached at age 6 months) and the force (or rate) of infection were somewhat greater for MsgC than for MsgA. Significant seasonal variation in antibody levels was only found with MsgA. Respiratory infections occurred in most children, but nasopharyngeal aspirates were of limited value in detecting the organism. In contrast, serological responses commonly occurred, and higher levels only to MsgC were significantly related to the number of infections.
Serological responses to recombinant Msg fragments provide new insights into the epidemiological and clinical features of P. jirovecii infection of early childhood. MsgA, the amino terminus fragment, is more sensitive in detecting seasonal influences on antibody levels, whereas MsgC is better able to detect changes in antibody levels in response to clinical infection.
PMCID: PMC2995006  PMID: 20926326
Serological responses; Pneumocystis; Major surface glycoprotein (Msg); Children
9.  Antibodies to actin in autoimmune haemolytic anaemia 
In autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA), autoreactive antibodies directed against red blood cells are up-regulated, leading to erythrocyte death. Mycoplasma suis infections in pigs induce AIHA of both the warm and cold types. The aim of this study was to identify the target autoantigens of warm autoreactive IgG antibodies. Sera from experimentally M. suis-infected pigs were screened for autoreactivity.
Actin-reactive antibodies were found in the sera of 95% of all animals tested. The reactivity was species-specific, i.e. reactivity with porcine actin was significantly higher than with rabbit actin. Sera of animals previously immunised with the M. suis adhesion protein MSG1 showed reactivity with actin prior to infection with M. suis indicating that molecular mimicry is involved in the specific autoreactive mechanism. A potentially cross-reactive epitope was detected.
This is the first report of autoreactive anti-actin antibodies involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune haemolytic anaemia.
PMCID: PMC3003239  PMID: 20353574
10.  Cloning and Characterization of the Gene Encoding the Glutamate Dehydrogenase of Streptococcus suis Serotype 2 
Given the lack of effective vaccines to control Streptococcus suis infection and the lack of a rapid and reliable molecular diagnostic assay to detect its infection, a polyclonal antibody was raised against the whole-cell protein of S. suis type 2 and used to screen an S. suis gene library in an effort to identify protective antigen(s) and antigens of diagnostic importance. A clone that produced a 45-kDa S. suis-specific protein was identified by Western blotting. Restriction analysis showed that the gene encoding the 45-kDa protein was present on a 1.6-kb pair DraI region on the cloned chromosomal fragment. The nucleotide sequence contained an open reading frame that encoded a polypeptide of 448 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 48.8 kDa, in close agreement with the size observed on Western blots. A GenBank database search revealed that the derived amino acid sequence is homologous to the sequence of glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) protein isolated from various sources, including conserved motifs and functional domains typical of the family 1-type hexameric GDH proteins, thus placing it in that family. Because of these similarities, the protein was designated the GDH of S. suis. Hybridization studies showed that the gene is conserved among the S. suis type 2 strains tested. Antiserum raised against the purified recombinant protein was reactive with a protein of the same molecular size as the recombinant protein in S. suis strains, suggesting expression of the gene in all of the isolates and antigenic conservation of the protein. The recombinant protein was reactive with serum from pigs experimentally infected with a virulent strain of S. suis type 2, suggesting that the protein might serve as an antigen of diagnostic importance to detect S. suis infection. Activity staining showed that the S. suis GDH activity is NAD(P)H dependent but, unlike the NAD(P)H-dependent GDH from various other sources, that of S. suis utilizes l-glutamate rather than α-ketoglutarate as the substrate. Highly virulent strains of S. suis type 2 could be distinguished from moderately virulent and avirulent strains on the basis of their GDH protein profile following activity staining on a nondenaturing gel. We examined the cellular location of the protein using a whole-cell enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and an immunogold-labeling technique. Results showed that the S. suis GDH protein is exposed at the surface of intact cells.
PMCID: PMC96045  PMID: 11238204
11.  O-Polysaccharide Epitopic Heterogeneity at the Surface of Brucella spp. Studied by Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and Flow Cytometry 
Smooth Brucella strains are classified into three serotypes, i.e., A+M−, A−M+, and A+M+, according to slide agglutination with A and M monospecific polyclonal sera. The epitopes involved have been located on the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) moiety of the smooth lipopolysaccharide (S-LPS), which represents the most exposed antigenic structure on the surface of Brucella spp. By use of monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) a number of epitope specificities on the O-PS have been reported: A, M, and epitopes shared by both A and M dominant strains, which have been named common (C) epitopes. The latter have been further subdivided, according to relative MAb binding in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) to A- and M-dominant Brucella strains and to cross-reacting Yersinia enterocolitica O:9, into five epitopic specificities: C (M>A), C (M=A), C/Y (M>A), C/Y (M=A), and C/Y (A>M). In the present study, we studied the occurrence of these epitopes at the surface of representatives of all Brucella species and biovars including the live vaccine strains by analyzing the levels of MAb binding to whole Brucella cells in ELISA and flow cytometry assays. In ELISA, the level of MAb binding correlated well with the previously defined epitope specificity and the serotype defined by polyclonal sera for each Brucella species, biovar, or strain. However, MAbs to the C (M=A) and C (M>A) epitopes showed insignificant binding to B. suis biovar 2 strains and bound at lower titers to B. suis biovar 3 and B. neotomae than to the other Brucella strains. Some of the flow cytometry results were contradictory to those obtained by ELISA. In fact, it appeared by flow cytometry that all O-PS epitopes, including the A and M epitopes, are shared to different degrees by Brucella spp. which nevertheless show a high degree of O-PS heterogeneity according to MAb binding intensities. The subdivision of MAb specificities and Brucella serotypes was therefore less evident by flow cytometry than by ELISA. Whereas in ELISA the MAb specific for the A epitope showed insignificant binding to Y. enterocolitica O:9, this MAb bound strongly to Y. enterocolitica O:9 in flow cytometry. One of the two MAbs specific to the C (M=A) epitope also bound at a low but significant level to B. suis biovar 2 strains. However, as in ELISA the MAb specific for the C (M>A) epitope did not bind at all to B. suis biovar 2 strains in flow cytometry. Flow cytometry provided new information regarding specificity of the MAbs and may further explain some aspects of the capacity of passive protection of some MAbs against smooth Brucella infection in mice. As shown in the present study the occurrence of Brucella strains apparently completely devoid of one specific C O-PS epitope (e.g., B. suis biovar 2 devoid of the C [M>A] epitope) offers the possibility of obtaining vaccine strains devoid of a diagnostic O-PS epitope, which could further help to resolve the problem of discriminating infected from vaccinated animals that remains a major goal in brucellosis research.
PMCID: PMC96216  PMID: 9801349
12.  Mycoplasma suis Invades Porcine Erythrocytes▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;77(2):576-584.
Mycoplasma suis belongs to the hemotrophic mycoplasma group and causes infectious anemia in pigs. According to the present state of knowledge, this organism adheres to the surface of erythrocytes but does not invade them. We found a novel M. suis isolate that caused severe anemia in pigs with a fatal disease course. Interestingly, only marginal numbers of the bacteria were visible on and between the erythrocytes in acridine orange-stained blood smears for acutely diseased pigs, whereas very high loads of M. suis were detected in the same blood samples by quantitative PCR. These findings indicated that M. suis is capable of invading erythrocytes. By use of fluorescent labeling of M. suis and examination by confocal laser scanning microscopy, as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy, we proved that the localization of M. suis was intracellular. This organism invades erythrocytes in an endocytosis-like process and is initially surrounded by two membranes, and it was also found floating freely in the cytoplasm. In conclusion, we were able to prove for the first time that a member of the hemotrophic mycoplasma group is able to invade the erythrocytes of its host. Such colonization should protect the bacterial cells from the host's immune response and hamper antibiotic treatment. In addition, an intracellular life cycle may explain the chronic nature of hemotrophic mycoplasma infections and should serve as the foundation for novel strategies in hemotrophic mycoplasma research (e.g., treatment or prophylaxis).
PMCID: PMC2632055  PMID: 19015255
13.  Production and Evaluation of Toxoplasma gondii Recombinant Surface Antigen 1 (SAG1) for Serodiagnosis of Acute and Chronic Toxoplasma Infection in Human Sera 
The assays currently available for the detection of specific anti-Toxoplasma antibodies may vary in their abilities to detect serum immunoglobulins, due to the Lack of a purified standardized antigen. The aim of this study was evaluation the recombinant Toxoplasma gondii SAG1 antigen for the serodiagnosis of acute and chronic toxoplasmosis.
This study describes an ELISA using recombinant SAG1 for detection of IgM and IgG antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii in human sera. Genomic DNA of T. gondii (RH Strain) was isolated and PCR reaction was performed. Recovered DNA was cloned into PTZ57R cloning vector. The recombinant plasmid was detected by restriction analysis. The SAG1 gene was subcloned in the pET- 28a expression vector. Protein production was then induced with 1 mM isopropyl-D – thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG). A total of 204 sera were tested using a commercial IgG and IgM ELISA kit (Trinity, USA) as gold standard prior to testing them with the recombinant antigen.
Tested sera were divided into the following groups:(a) The 74 T. gondii IgG positive (b) 70 T.gondii IgM positive (c) 60 sera who had no serological evidence of toxoplasmosis as negative sera.To determine the specificity of the test, we used other parasitic diseases including echinococusis (N=5), malaria (N=14), leishmaniasis (N=7),fasciolasis (N=4), sterengyloidiasis (N=1). Sensitivity and specificity of the generated recombinant IgG ELISA in comparison with commercial ELISA (Com ELISA) were 93% and 95%, and the sensitivity and specificity of the generated recombinant IgM ELISA were 87% and 95% respectively.
The results acquired here show that this antigen is useful for diagnostic purposes and could be replaced by lysed, whole cell antigens for diagnosis of chronic toxoplasmosis.
PMCID: PMC3469165  PMID: 23109955
Toxoplasma gondii; Recombinant SAG1; Acute toxoplasmosis; Chronic infection
14.  Serum Antibody Levels to the Pneumocystis jirovecii Major Surface Glycoprotein in the Diagnosis of P. jirovecii Pneumonia in HIV+ Patients 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e14259.
Pneumocystis jirovecii remains an important cause of fatal pneumonia (Pneumocystis pneumonia or PcP) in HIV+ patients and other immunocompromised hosts. Despite many previous attempts, a clinically useful serologic test for P. jirovecii infection has never been developed.
Methods/Principal Findings
We analyzed serum antibody responses to the P. jirovecii major surface glycoprotein recombinant fragment C1 (MsgC1) in 110 HIV+ patients with active PcP (cases) and 63 HIV+ patients with pneumonia due to other causes (controls) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The cases had significantly higher IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1 than the controls at hospital admission (week 0) and intervals up to at least 1 month thereafter. The sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of IgG antibody levels increased from 57.2%, 61.7% and 71.5% at week 0 to 63.4%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. The sensitivity, specificity and PPV of IgM antibody levels rose from 59.7%, 61.3%, and 79.3% at week 0 to 74.6%, 73.7%, and 89.8%, respectively, at weeks 3–4. Multivariate analysis revealed that a diagnosis of PcP was the only independent predictor of high IgG and IgM antibody levels to MsgC1. A high LDH level, a nonspecific marker of lung damage, was an independent predictor of low IgG antibody levels to MsgC1.
The results suggest that the ELISA shows promise as an aid to the diagnosis of PCP in situations where diagnostic procedures cannot be performed. Further studies in other patient populations are needed to better define the usefulness of this serologic test.
PMCID: PMC3000336  PMID: 21151564
15.  Immunosorbent Assay Based on Recombinant Hemagglutinin Protein Produced in a High-Efficiency Mammalian Expression System for Surveillance of Measles Immunity 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(3):721-726.
Recombinant hemagglutinin (H) protein of the measles virus (MV) was produced in mammalian cells with a high-yield expression system based on the Semliki Forest virus replicon. Crude membrane preparations of H protein-transfected BHK-21 cells were used to coat microtiter plates to measure specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in 228 serologically defined serum samples mainly from measles late-convalescent adults. The titers by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the H protein (H-ELISA) closely correlated with neutralization test (NT) titers (R2 = 0.66), hemagglutination inhibition test (HI) titers (R2 = 0.64), with the titers from a certified commercial ELISA based on whole MV-infected cells (MV-ELISA; R2 = 0.45). The correlations described above were better than those of the commercial MV-ELISA titers with the NT (R2 = 0.52) or HI (R2 = 0.48) titers. By using the 2nd International Standard for anti-measles serum, the detection level of the assay corresponds to 215 mIU/ml for undiluted serum, which corresponds to the estimated threshold for protective immunity. The specificity, accuracy, and positive predictive value were, in general, better for the H-ELISA than for a commercial MV-ELISA, independent of whether HI, NT, or HI and NT were used as “gold standards.” In contrast, the H-ELISA proved to be slightly less sensitive than the MV-ELISA (sensitivities, 98.6 versus 99.5%, respectively; P was not significant). The assays did not differ significantly in the number of serum samples with positive HI and NT results (n = 212) which measured false negative (H-ELISA, 2 of 212 [0.94%]; MV-ELISA, 1 of 212 [0.47%]), but the H-ELISA detected significantly more measles-susceptible individuals than the MV-ELISA (10 of 11 versus 3 of 11, respectively; P < 0.05) among the individuals whose sera had negative HI and NT results. Our data demonstrate that the H-protein preparation that we describe could be a cost-effective alternative to current whole-virus-based ELISAs for surveillance for immunity to measles and that such an assay could be more efficient in detecting susceptibility to measles. Furthermore, unlike whole MV-based antigens, H-protein would also be suitable for use in the development of a simple field test for the diagnosis of measles.
PMCID: PMC104615  PMID: 9508302
16.  Discordant antibody and cellular responses to Pneumocystis major surface glycoprotein variants in mice 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:39.
The major surface glycoprotein (Msg) of Pneumocystis is encoded by approximately 50 to 80 unique but related genes. Msg diversity may represent a mechanism for immune escape from host T cell responses. We examined splenic T cell proliferative and cytokine as well as serum antibody responses to recombinant and native Pneumocystis antigens in immunized or Pneumocystis-infected mice. In addition, immune responses were examined in 5 healthy humans.
Proliferative responses to each of two recombinant Msg variant proteins were seen in mice immunized with either recombinant protein, but no proliferation to these antigens was seen in mice immunized with crude Pneumocystis antigens or in mice that had cleared infection, although the latter animals demonstrated proliferative responses to crude Pneumocystis antigens and native Msg. IL-17 and MCP-3 were produced in previously infected animals in response to the same antigens, but not to recombinant antigens. Antibody responses to the recombinant P. murina Msg variant proteins were seen in all groups of animals, demonstrating that all groups were exposed to and mounted immune responses to Msg. No human PBMC samples proliferated following stimulation with P. jirovecii Msg, while antibody responses were detected in sera from 4 of 5 samples.
Cross-reactive antibody responses to Msg variants are common, while cross-reactive T cell responses are uncommon; these results support the hypothesis that Pneumocystis utilizes switching of Msg variant expression to avoid host T cell responses.
PMCID: PMC3411419  PMID: 22788748
Antigenic variation; Immune response; Major surface glycoprotein; Pneumocystis
17.  Comparison of Two Recombinant Major Outer Membrane Proteins of the Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis Agent for Use in an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay 
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE) using two different recombinant P44 proteins (rP44 and rP44-2hv) of the HGE agent as antigens was evaluated. Sera from a total of 72 healthy humans both from regions where HGE is nonendemic and regions where HGE is endemic were used as negative controls to determine the cutoff value for ELISA. Sera from a total of 14 patients (nine from whom the HGE agent was isolated and five who were HGE-PCR positive) were used as positive controls. One hundred nine sera from 72 patients in an area where HGE is endemic who were suspected of having HGE were examined by ELISA and indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). All IFA-negative sera were negative by both ELISAs. Of 39 sera that were IFA positive, 35 and 27 were positive by ELISA using rP44 and rP44-2hv, respectively, indicating that the use of rP44 is more sensitive. Western blot analysis of the four rP44-ELISA-negative IFA-positive sera using whole HGE agent as antigen suggests that these four sera were false IFA positive. There was no difference in results with or without the preabsorption of sera with Escherichia coli or with or without the cleavage of the fused protein derived from the vector. There was a significant positive correlation between IFA titers and optical densities of ELISAs. Four Ehrlichia chaffeensis-positive and 10 Borrelia burgdorferi-positive sera were negative by ELISA. However, two Babesia microti-positive sera showed strong cross-reactivity to the fused vector protein, which was eliminated after cleavage of the protein. Thus, ELISA using rP44 nonfusion protein would provide a simple, specific, and objective HGE serologic test which can be easily automated.
PMCID: PMC95929  PMID: 10882667
18.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Patients with Prior Pneumocystis Pneumonia Exhibit Increased Serologic Reactivity to Several Major Surface Glycoprotein Clones 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(10):1071-1078.
Recombinant clones of the carboxyl terminus of the major surface glycoprotein (MsgC) of Pneumocystis jirovecii are useful for analyzing serologic responses in humans. However, there is no standardized set of antigens in general use, which could lead to conflicting results. We have previously shown that human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected patients with prior Pneumocystis pneumonia (PcP+) responded more frequently and more strongly to a clone of MsgC than did HIV-1-infected patients without PcP (PcP−). Here we test three new clones of MsgC to determine the effect of antigenic sequence variation on immune reactivity in blood donors and HIV-infected patients previously analyzed for reactivity to our original MsgC clone. In Western blot analyses, PcP+ patients exhibited the highest frequency of reactivity to each MsgC clone, and the frequency of reactivity with all four MsgC clones together was significantly higher in sera from PcP+ patients than in sera from the other patient groups. Furthermore, in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay we found that the PcP+ population had the highest level of reactivity to two of the four clones tested. One of the new clones could distinguish between PcP+ and PcP− populations, and two MsgC clones could distinguish blood donors from the other patient populations. The results show that inherent differences in MsgC amino acid sequence can affect recognition by antibodies independently of variations in protein length or patient population, and the utility of a clone depends on its sequence and on the populations tested.
PMCID: PMC1595325  PMID: 17028210
19.  Diagnostic Accuracy of Recombinant Immunoglobulin-like Protein A-Based IgM ELISA for the Early Diagnosis of Leptospirosis in the Philippines 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2015;9(6):e0003879.
Leptospirosis is an important but largely under-recognized public health problem in the tropics. Establishment of highly sensitive and specific laboratory diagnosis is essential to reveal the magnitude of problem and to improve treatment. This study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of a recombinant LigA protein based IgM ELISA during outbreaks in the clinical-setting of a highly endemic country.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A prospective study was conducted from October 2011 to September 2013 at a national referral hospital for infectious diseases in Manila, Philippines. Patients who were hospitalized with clinically suspected leptospirosis were enrolled. Plasma and urine were collected on admission and/or at discharge and tested using the LigA-IgM ELISA and a whole cell-based IgM ELISA. Sensitivity and specificity of these tests were evaluated with cases diagnosed by microscopic agglutination test (MAT), culture and LAMP as the composite reference standard and blood bank donors as healthy controls: the mean+3 standard deviation optical density value of healthy controls was used as the cut-off limit (0.062 for the LigA-IgM ELISA and 0.691 for the whole cell-based IgM ELISA). Of 304 patients enrolled in the study, 270 (89.1%) were male and the median age was 30.5 years; 167 (54.9%) were laboratory confirmed. The sensitivity and ROC curve AUC for the LigA-IgM ELISA was significantly greater than the whole cell-based IgM ELISA (69.5% vs. 54.3%, p<0.01; 0.90 vs. 0.82, p<0.01) on admission, but not at discharge. The specificity of LigA-IgM ELISA and whole cell-based IgM ELISA were not significantly different (98% vs. 97%). Among 158 MAT negative patients, 53 and 28 were positive by LigA- and whole cell-based IgM ELISA, respectively; if the laboratory confirmation was re-defined by LigA-IgM ELISA and LAMP, the clinical findings were more characteristic of leptospirosis than the diagnosis based on MAT/culture/LAMP.
The newly developed LigA-IgM ELISA is more sensitive than the whole cell-based IgM based ELISA. Although the final diagnosis must be validated by more specific tests, LigA-IgM ELISA could be a useful diagnostic test in a real clinical-setting, where diagnosis is needed in the early phase of infection.
Author Summary
Leptospirosis is an important but largely under-recognized public health problem in the tropics. A sensitive, specific and practical point-of-care laboratory test is needed to improve clinical management in resource-limited settings. We developed a recombinant LigA protein based IgM assay (IgM ELISA) and evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of the test during outbreaks in the clinical-setting of a highly endemic country, the Philippines. Sensitivity and specificity of LigA-IgM ELISA and the whole cell-based IgM ELISA, which is included in WHO guidance, were evaluated with cases diagnosed by the standard serological test, MAT, culture and loop-mediated amplification (LAMP) as the composite reference standard and blood bank donors as healthy controls. The sensitivity and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for the LigA-IgM ELISA was significantly greater than those of the whole cell-based IgM ELISA on admission. When we re-defined the laboratory confirmation by LigA-IgM ELISA and LAMP, the clinical findings were more characteristic of leptospirosis than the diagnosis based on MAT/culture/LAMP. Our results suggest that LigA-IgM ELISA could be a useful diagnostic test in a real clinical-setting and help timely initiation of antibiotics to prevent severe outcomes of leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC4482399  PMID: 26110604
20.  A Virus-Like Particle Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Detects Serum Antibodies in a Majority of Women Infected With Human Papillomavirus Type 16 
Previous studies have demonstrated that genital infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), most often HPV16, is the most significant risk factor for the development of cervical cancer. However, serologic assays that have been developed to identify high-risk HPV infection have either failed to associate serum reactivity with other indicators of HPV infection or have identified only a minority of HPV-infected individuals.
Our purpose was to determine whether a specifically developed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) could detect IgG anti-HPV16 virion antibodies in the sera of women who had tested positive for genital HPV16 infection by DNA-based methods.
An ELISA was developed using newly developed HPV16 virus-like particles as antigens to detect anti-HPV16 virion IgG antibodies. These particles are comprised of HPV16 structural proteins that are self-assembled in insect cells after expression by recombinant baculo-viruses. The sera of 122 women, whose HPV status had been previously evaluated by nucleic acid-based methods, were tested by this ELISA.
The sera of 59% of women (32 of 54) positive for genital HPV16 DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were positive in the ELISA assay compared with sera from women who had tested negative for HPV DNA (P<.0005). In contrast, 6% of HPV DNA-negative women (two of 31) and 9% of women positive for low-risk HPV6/11 DNA (one of 11) were ELISA positive by this criterion. The sera of women who were DNA positive for two additional high-risk HPV types were evaluated; the sera of 31% of HPV18-positive (four of 13) and 38% of HPV31-positive women (five of 13) were positive in the HPV16 particle ELISA. The sera of 75% of HPV16 DNA-positive women with severe dysplasias (12 of 16) gave positive ELISA results. The sera of 67% of women (28 of 42) who tested positive for HPV16 DNA by both PCR and the less sensitive ViraType assay tested positive in the ELISA compared with 33% of women (four of 12) who were positive by PCR but negative by ViraType (P<.05).
The majority of women with cervical HPV16 infection generate an IgG antibody response to conformationally dependent epitopes of HPV16 L1 that can be detected by ELISA.
This particular ELISA, or a similar one incorporating virus-like particles of additional HPV types, may be useful in determining the natural history of high-risk HPV infection and perhaps help to identify women at risk for developing cervical cancer.
PMCID: PMC3935441  PMID: 8133532
21.  A serological and bacteriological survey of brucellosis in wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Belgium 
Brucellosis is frequently reported among wild boar populations in Europe. The aim of the study was to assess the epidemiological situation in Belgium, regarding the steady increase of wild boar populations over the last decades. Several serological tests were used and compared with culture and IS711 polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to determine the most suitable combination of diagnostic tools for conducting a successful prevalence study in wildlife.
An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (iELISA) was used on 1168 sera from hunter-killed wild boar sampled between 2003 and 2007 in 4 natural regions of southern Belgium. Results gave an apparent prevalence of 54.88% (95% CI 52.03-57.73). Prevalence was significantly affected by age and by the year of study, but not by sex nor by the region of sampling. The relative sensitivities of the complement fixation test (CFT), the Rose Bengal test (RBT), and the slow agglutination test (SAT) versus the iELISA differed widely between tests, reaching 62.67%, 46.68%, and 34.77%, respectively. The relative specificities of the CFT, RBT and SAT versus the iELISA were respectively 99.01%, 92.49%, and 99.1%. From seropositive animals (iELISA), 9% were positive by culture and 24% by PCR when testing spleen and/or tonsils. Sensitivity of the PCR was higher on tonsils than on spleen. All bacterial isolates were identified as Brucella suis biovar 2.
Brucellosis is widespread among wild boar in southern Belgium, with seroprevalences having increased over ten years, and constitutes a growing risk of spillback to outdoor-farmed pig herds. The iELISA showed a better sensitivity than the CFT, RBT and SAT. Serological tests must be associated with direct diagnosis and PCR proved more sensitive than culture under wildlife sampling conditions. Spleen and tonsils are lymphoid tissues usually sampled in multi-disease monitoring programs. They remain top-grade organs for direct diagnosis of brucellosis, with a preference for tonsils.
PMCID: PMC3503824  PMID: 22709889
22.  Comparative Study of rK39 Leishmania Antigen for Serodiagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis: Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis 
The rK39 recombinant protein is derived from a specific antigen produced by the Leishmania donovani complex, and has been used in the last two decades for the serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. We present here a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating serologic assays to diagnose visceral leishmaniasis to determine the accuracy of rK39 antigen in comparison to the use of other antigen preparations.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A systematic review with meta-analysis of the literature was performed to compare the rK39 strip-test and ELISA formats against serological tests using promastigote antigens derived from whole or soluble parasites for Direct Aglutination Test (DAT), Indirect Immunofluorescence test (IFAT) and ELISA with a promastigote antigen preparation (p-ELISA). Gold standard diagnosis was defined by the demonstration of amastigotes on hematological specimens. A database search was performed on Medline, Lilacs, Scopus, Isi Web of Science, and Cochrane Library. Quality of data was assessed using the QUADAS questionnaire. A search of the electronic databases found 352 papers of which only 14 fulfilled the selection criteria. Three evaluated the rK39 ELISA, while 13 evaluated the rK39 immunochromatographic strip test. The summarized sensitivity for the rK39-ELISA was 92% followed by IFAT 88% and p-ELISA 87%. The summarized specificity for the three diagnostic tests was 81%, 90%, and 77%. Studies comparing the rK39 strip test with DAT found a similar sensitivity of 94%, although the DAT had a slightly higher specificity. The rK39 strip test was more sensitive and specific than the IFAT and p-ELISA. We did not detect any difference in the sensitivity and specificity between strips produced by different manufacturers.
The rK39 protein used either in a strip test or in an ELISA, and the DAT are the best choices for implementation of rapid, easy and efficient test for serodiagnosis of VL.
Author Summary
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease for which serodiagnostic tests are available, but not yet widely implemented in rural areas. The rK39 recombinant protein is derived from a kinesin-like protein of parasites belonging to the Leishmania donovani complex, and has been used in the last two decades for the serodiagnosis of VL. We present here a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies evaluating serologic assays (rK39 strip-test, rK39 ELISA, Direct Agglutination Test [DAT], Indirect Immunofluorescence test [IFAT] and ELISA with a promastigote antigen preparation [p-ELISA]) to diagnose VL to determine the accuracy of rK39 antigen in comparison to the use of other antigen preparations. Fourteen papers fulfilled the inclusion and exclusion selection criteria. The summarized sensitivity for the rK39-ELISA was 92% followed by IFAT 88% and p-ELISA 87%. The summarized specificity for the three diagnostic tests was 81%, 90%, and 77%. Studies comparing the rK39 strip test with DAT found a similar sensitivity (94%) and specificity (89%). However, the rK39 strip test was more specific than the IFAT and p-ELISA. In conclusion, we found the rK39 protein used either in a strip test or in an ELISA is a good choice for the serodiagnosis of VL.
PMCID: PMC3269412  PMID: 22303488
23.  Identification of an N-terminal 27 kDa fragment of Mycoplasma pneumoniae P116 protein as specific immunogen in M. pneumoniae infections 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:350.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is an important cause of respiratory tract infection and is increasingly being associated with other diseases such as asthma and extra-pulmonary complications. Considerable cross-reactivity is known to exist between the whole cell antigens used in the commercial serological testing assays. Identification of specific antigens is important to eliminate the risk of cross-reactions among different related organisms. Adherence of M. pneumoniae to human epithelial cells is mediated through a well defined apical organelle to which a number of proteins such as P1, P30, P116 and HMW1-3 have been localized, and are being investigated for adhesion, gliding and immunodiagnostic purposes.
A 609 bp fragment P116(N-27), corresponding to the N-terminal region of M. pneumoniae P116 gene was cloned and expressed. A C-terminal fragment P1(C-40), of P1 protein of M. pneumoniae was also expressed. Three IgM ELISA assays based on P116(N-27), P1(C-40) and (P116 (N-27) + P1(C-40)) proteins were optimized and a detailed analysis comparing the reactivity of these proteins with a commercial kit was carried out. Comparative statistical analysis of these assays was performed with the SPSS version 15.0.
The expressed P116(N-27) protein was well recognized by the patient sera and was immunogenic in rabbit. P1(C-40) of M. pneumoniae was also immunogenic in rabbit. In comparison to the reference kit, which is reported to be 100% sensitive and 75% specific, ELISA assay based on purified P116(N-27), P1(C-40) and (P116(N-27) + P1(C-40)) proteins showed 90.3%, 87.1% and 96.8% sensitivity and 87.0%, 87.1% and 90.3% specificity respectively. The p value for all the three assays was found to be < 0.001, and there was a good correlation and association between them.
This study shows that an N-terminal fragment of P116 protein holds a promise for serodiagnosis of M. pneumoniae infection. The IgM ELISA assays based on the recombinant proteins seem to be suitable for the use in serodiagnosis of acute M. pneumoniae infections. The use of short recombinant fragments of P116 and P1 proteins as specific antigens may eliminate the risk of cross-reactions and help to develop a specific and sensitive immunodiagnostic assay for M. pneumoniae detection.
PMCID: PMC3022831  PMID: 21144026
24.  Identification of the Gene Encoding a 38-Kilodalton Immunogenic and Protective Antigen of Streptococcus suis 
In our continued effort to search for a Streptococcus suis protein(s) that can serve as a vaccine candidate or a diagnostic reagent, we constructed and screened a gene library with a polyclonal antibody raised against the whole-cell protein of S. suis type 2. A clone that reacted with the antibody was identified and characterized. Analysis revealed that the gene encoding the protein is localized within a 2.0-kbp EcoRI DNA fragment. The nucleotide sequence contained an open reading frame that encoded a polypeptide of 445 amino acid residues with a calculated molecular mass of 46.4 kDa. By in vitro protein synthesis and Western blot experiments, the protein exhibited an electrophoretic mobility of approximately 38 kDa. At the amino acid level the deduced primary sequence shared homology with sequences of unknown function from Streptococcus pneumoniae (89%), Streptococcus mutans (86%), Lactococcus lactis (80%), Listeria monocytogenes (74%), and Clostridium perfringens (64%). Except for strains of serotypes 20, 26, 32, and 33, Southern hybridization analysis revealed the presence of the gene in strains of other S. suis serotypes and demonstrated restriction fragment length differences caused by a point mutation in the EcoRI recognition sequence. We confirmed expression of the 38-kDa protein in the hybridization-positive isolates using specific antiserum against the purified protein. The recombinant protein was reactive with serum from pigs experimentally infected with virulent strains of S. suis type 2, suggesting that the protein is immunogenic and may serve as an antigen of diagnostic importance for the detection of most S. suis infections. Pigs immunized with the recombinant 38-kDa protein mounted antibody responses to the protein and were completely protected against challenge with a strain of a homologous serotype, the wild-type virulent strain of S. suis type 2, suggesting that it may be a good candidate for the development of a vaccine that can be used as protection against S. suis infection. Analysis of the cellular fractions of the bacterium by Western blotting revealed that the protein was present in the surface and cell wall extracts. The functional role of the protein with respect to pathogenesis and whether antibodies against the antigen confer protective immunity against diseases caused by strains of other pathogenic S. suis capsular types remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC1074381  PMID: 15817754
25.  Development of Recombinant Chimeric Antigen Expressing Immunodominant B Epitopes of Leishmania infantum for Serodiagnosis of Visceral Leishmaniasis 
Wild canids and domestic dogs are the main reservoir of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum (syn.: Leishmania chagasi). Serological diagnosis of VL is therefore important in both human and dog leishmaniasis from a clinical and epidemiological point of view. Routine diagnosis of VL is traditionally carried out by immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT), which is laborious and difficult to standardize and to interpret. In the last decade, however, several specific antigens of Leishmania infantum have been characterized, allowing the development of a recombinant-based immunoassay. Among them, the whole open reading frame encoding K9 antigen, the gene fragment encoding the repetitive sequence of K26, and the 3′-terminal gene fragment of the kinesin-related protein (K39sub) were previously evaluated as diagnostic markers for canine leishmaniasis and proved to be independent in their antibody reactivity. Since sensitivity of serological test is usually higher in multiple-epitope format, in this study the relevant epitopes of K9, K26, and K39 antigens were joined by PCR strategy to produce the chimeric recombinant protein. The resulting mosaic antigen was found highly expressed in Escherichia coli and efficiently purified by affinity chromatography. Antigenic properties of this recombinant antigen were evaluated by indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using a panel of human and dog sera previously characterized by parasitological and/or serological techniques. Chimeric ELISA showed 99% specificity in both human (n = 180) and canine (n = 343) control groups, while sensitivity was higher in canine VL (96%, n = 213) than in human VL (82%, n = 185). Accordingly, concordance between IFAT and canine chimeric ELISA (k = 0.95, 95% confidence interval = 0.93 to 0.98) was higher than between IFAT and human chimeric ELISA (k = 0.81, 95% confidence interval = 0.76 to 0.87). Results suggest the potential use of this new antigen for routine serodiagnosis of VL in both human and canine hosts.
PMCID: PMC1112073  PMID: 15879027

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