Toxoplasmosis can cause serious disease in immunocompromised patients and to congenitally infected foetuses. Appropriate laboratory investigations in potential cases of acute Toxoplasma infection are important. Excretory secretory antigen (ESA) is immunogenic during both human and experimental infections, therefore is considered as a good candidate for investigation into new infection markers. In this study, ESA was prepared from in vitro cultures of Toxoplasma gondii to identify T. gondii ESA antigenic component(s) that is/are most reactive with serum samples from probable acute cases of toxoplasmosis. Serum samples were obtained from several categories of individuals with the following Toxoplasma serology: Group I: IgM+ IgG+ (low IgG avidity) or IgM+ IgG- from sera of patients who had clinical query of toxoplasmosis (n=35). Group II: IgM- IgG+ (high IgG avidity) from chronically infected individuals (n=30). Group III: normal/healthy individuals with anti-Toxoplasma IgMIgG- (n=20). Group IV: individuals with other infections who had anti-Toxoplasma IgM- IgG- (n=10). The ESA was subjected to SDS-PAGE, followed by Western blot analysis using the above sera and probed with peroxidase conjugated anti-human IgM and IgA antibodies. The blots were then developed using chemiluminescence substrate. The selected antigenic band was excised from the gel after two dimensional electrophoresis and sent for mass spectrometry analysis using MALDI TOF-TOF. The most promising antigenic band was a 10 kDa protein which showed sensitivity of 80% in both IgM and IgA blots, and specificity of 96.7% with sera from other infections and healthy controls. The two best identifications for the 10 kDa band were ubiquitin (ribosomal protein CEP52 fusion protein) and polyubiquitin.
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