Toxoplasma gondii is an important human pathogen with a worldwide distribution. It is primarily of medical importance for pregnant women and immunocompromised patients. Primary infection of the former is often associated with fetal infection, which can lead to abortion or severe neonatal malformation. Immunocompromised patients are at risk of contracting the severe form of the disease that may be fatal. Thus, detection of T. gondii infection with high sensitivity and specificity is crucial in the management of the disease. Toxoplasmosis is generally diagnosed by demonstrating specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) and IgG antibodies to toxoplasma antigens in the patient's serum sample. Most of the commercially available tests use T. gondii native antigens and display wide variations in test accuracy. Recombinant antigens have great potential as diagnostic reagents for use in assays to detect toxoplasmosis. Thus in this review, we address recent advances in the use of Toxoplasma recombinant proteins for serodiagnosis of toxoplasmosis.
Infection by Toxoplasma gondii is prevalent worldwide. The parasite can infect a broad spectrum of vertebrate hosts, but infection of fetuses and immunocompromised patients is of particular concern. Easy-to-perform, robust, and highly sensitive and specific methods to detect Toxoplasma infection are important for the treatment and management of patients. Rapid diagnostic methods that do not sacrifice the accuracy of the assay and give reproducible results in a short time are highly desirable. In this context, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), especially with point-of-care (POC) features, are promising diagnostic methods in clinical microbiology laboratories, especially in areas with minimal laboratory facilities. More advanced methods using microfluidics and sensor technology will be the future trend. In this review, we discuss serological and molecular-based rapid diagnostic tests for detecting Toxoplasma infection in humans as well as animals.
"Proteomics" refers to the systematic analysis of proteins. It complements other "omics" technologies such as genomics and transcriptomics in elucidating the identity of proteins of an organism, and understanding their functions. Proteomics is used in many areas of research such as discovery of markers for diagnosis and vaccine candidates, understanding pathogenic mechanisms, in the study of expression patterns at different time points and in response to different stimuli, and in elucidating functional protein networks. Proteomics analysis involves sample preparation, protein separation, and protein identification. The 'heart' of current proteomics is mass-spectrometry, with LC-MS/MS and MALDI-TOF/TOF being commonly used equipment. However, the high costs of the equipment, software, databases, and the need for skilled personnel limit the wide utilization of this technology in the less developed countries. Therefore, there need to be sharing of facilities, better networking and collaborations among our scientists and laboratories to take advantage of this powerful technology.
Toxoplasma gondii is an important pathogen in veterinary and human medicine. In this study, a new multiplex TaqMan real-time PCR for detection of T. gondii DNA was developed. This assay consisted of new sets of primers and probes which targeted B1 gene and ITS-1 region of T. gondii, with Vibrio cholera gene as internal control. The B1 gene primers were designed to detect T. gondii RH strain, while the ITS-1 region primers detected most T. gondii strains. Specificity test using common protozoal and bacterial DNA revealed that the assay was very specific to T. gondii. Standard curves constructed using human body fluids spiked with T. gondii (RH and ME49 strains) showed that the sensitivity of the assay was one parasite, with R² value of 0.975 to 0.999 and efficiency of 97% to 99% for all types of samples. The assay performed on DNA extracted from tissues of mice infected with T. gondii showed that liver contained the highest parasite load for both strains of T. gondii. The multiplex real-time PCR developed in this study would be potentially useful for detection of T. gondii in human and animal samples.
Strongyloidiasis is a mysterious yet important parasitic disease that is hard to diagnose. While microscopic examination remains a "controversial" gold standard method, improved diagnosis is achieved through confirmatory assays with serological and/or molecular diagnostic approaches. In the current serodiagnosis of strongyloidiasis, recombinant proteins have been adopted in place of the use of native parasite antigens, although the availability of diagnostically potential proteins are still limited. Here, we introduce a novel Strongyloides recombinant protein that is uniquely attached to two different short peptide tags as a potential diagnostic biomarker for serodiagnosis of strongyloidiasis, namely lysine (7K) and aspartic acid (7D). The work presented focus on improving the yield and purity of the previously unexpressed recombinant protein. Preliminary diagnostic evaluation of the recombinant favors Ss3a7K protein owing to its higher antigenicity performance with 80% sensitivity and 100% specificity, respectively.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic protozoan that infects nearly one-third of the world population. The present study was done to isolate and genotype T. gondii from wild boar from forests of Pahang, Malaysia. A total of 30 wild boars' blood, heads and hearts were obtained for this study and 30 (100.0%) were found to be seropositive when assayed with modified agglutination test (MAT ≥ 6). The positive samples were inoculated into mice and T. gondii was only isolated from samples that had strong seropositivity (MAT ≥ 1:24).The isolates were subjected to PCR-RFLP analysis and all the Peninsular Malaysia isolates of T. gondii are of clonal type I.
AIM: To determine the usefulness of prednisolone in increasing the number of Toxoplasma (T.) gondii tachyzoites and bradyzoites in mice.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The mice were water-fasted prior to being immunosuppressed with oral inoculation of prednisolone. Tachyzoites of 7T gondii RH strain were inoculated into mice and the number of the parasites in the intraperitoneal fluids was then determined at 96 hs post-infection. In addition, tachyzoites of T. gondii ME49 strains were orally introduced into mice and the number of brain cysts formed was observed by microscopic observation at 45 days post-infection.
RESULTS: T. gondii propagation was found to be significantly improved by introduction of the prednisolone (p = 0.0004); and the number of parasite showed positive correlation with the increment in dosage of prednisolone (r = 0.9051).
CONCLUSIONS: The use of prednisolone greatly improved the number of parasite formed in mice: both tachyzoite and cyst forms.
A rapid antibody detection test is very useful for the detection of lymphatic filariasis, especially for certification and surveillance of post-mass drug administration. panLF Rapid kit is suitable for this purpose since it can detect all species of lymphatic filaria. It is based on the detection of anti-filarial IgG4 antibodies that react with recombinant B. malayi antigens, BmR1 and BmSXP. There is an increase demand for the test due to its attributes of being rapid, sensitive and specific results, as well as its field-applicability. The main aim of this paper is to obtain high recovery and purity of recombinant antigen BmSXP via a modified method of immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC). The highest product yield of 11.82 mg/g dry cell weight (DCW) was obtained when IMAC was performed using the optimized protocol of 10 mM imidazole concentration in lysis buffer, 30 mM imidazole concentration in wash buffer, and 10 column volume wash buffer containing 300 mM salt concentration. This gave a 54% protein recovery improvement over the manufacturer's protocol which recorded a product yield of only 7.68 mg/g DCW. The recovered BmSXP recombinant antigen showed good western blot reactivity, high sensitivity (31/32, 97%) and specificity (32/32, 100%) in ELISA, thus attesting to its good purity and quality.
Molecular methods are used increasingly for the detection of Toxoplasma gondii infection. This study developed a rapid, sensitive, and specific conventional triplex PCR for the detection of the B1 gene and ITS1 region of T. gondii using newly designed primers and an internal control based on the Vibrio cholerae HemM gene. The annealing temperature and concentrations of the primers, MgCl(2), and dNTPs were optimized. Two sets of primers (set 1 and 2) were tested, which contained different segments of the T. gondii B1 gene, 529 repeat region and ITS1 region. A series of sensitivity tests were performed using parasite DNA, whole parasites, and spiked human body fluids. Specificity tests were performed using DNA from common protozoa and bacteria. The newly developed assay based on set 2 primers was found to be specific and sensitive. The test was capable of detecting as little as 10 pg T. gondii DNA, 10(4) tachyzoites in spiked body fluids, and T. gondii DNA in the organ tissues of experimentally infected mice. The assay developed in this study will be useful for the laboratory detection of T. gondii infection.
AIM: A method was developed to separate contaminant-free viable Toxoplasma gondii cysts from brain samples of infected mice for molecular biology studies and reinfection.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The mice brains were homogenized and washed with phosphate buffered saline (PBS) Tween 80 prior to fractionation using 19-22% dextran solution. Finally, the supernatant was purified by two-step membrane filtration (100-160 microm and < 10 microm) to obtain pure T. gondii cyst. The isolates were analyzed through microscopic observation, qPCR and by reinfection of new batch of mice.
RESULTS: T. gondii cysts were best isolated with 21% dextran solution and two step filtration.
CONCLUSIONS: The method was observed not to disrupt the integrity of the cysts containing bradyzoites. In addition, the isolated cysts in the filtrate were found to be contaminant-free, viable and able to infect healthy mice when introduced orally; which, mimics the natural infectivity pathway.
Toxoplasma gondii infection in pregnant women may result in abortion and foetal abnormalities, and may be life-threatening in immunocompromised hosts. To identify the potential infection markers of this disease, 2-DE and Western blot methods were employed to study the parasite circulating antigens and host-specific proteins in the sera of T. gondii-infected individuals. The comparisons were made between serum protein profiles of infected (n=31) and normal (n=10) subjects. Antigenic proteins were identified by immunoblotting using pooled sera and monoclonal anti-human IgM-HRP. Selected protein spots were characterised using mass spectrometry. Prominent differences were observed when serum samples of T. gondii-infected individuals and normal controls were compared. A significant up-regulation of host-specific proteins, α(2)-HS glycoprotein and α(1)-B glycoprotein, was also observed in the silver-stained gels of both active and chronic infections. However, only α(2)-HS glycoprotein and α(1)-B glycoprotein in the active infection showed immunoreactivity in Western blots. In addition, three spots of T. gondii proteins were detected, namely (i) hypothetical protein chrXII: 3984434-3 TGME 49, (ii) dual specificity protein phosphatase, catalytic domain TGME 49 and (iii) NADPH-cytochrome p450 reductase TGME 49. Thus, 2-DE approach followed by Western blotting has enabled the identification of five potential infection markers for the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis: three are parasite-specific proteins and two are host-specific proteins.
Anti-filarial IgG4 antibody has been shown to be a good marker for detection of lymphatic filaria infection. Previous studies demonstrated that anti-filarial IgG4 assay using BmR1 recombinant antigen was highly specific and sensitive for detection of brugian filariasis. For bancroftian filariasis, an equivalent assay employing recombinant antigen expressed from the ORF of SXP1 gene has been reported. In order to detect infections by all species of lymphatic filarial, BmR1 and BmSXP recombinant antigens were employed in the development of a pan LF-ELISA.
BACKGROUND: The recombinant antigen BmR1 has been extensively employed in both ELISA and immunochromatographic rapid dipstick (Brugia Rapid) formats for the specific and sensitive detection of IgG4 antibodies against the lymphatic filarial parasites Brugia malayi and Brugia timori. In sera of individuals infected with Wuchereria bancrofti the IgG4 reactivity to BmR1 is variable, and cross-reactivity of sera from individuals infected with Onchocerca volvulus or Loa loa was observed only in single cases. In order to characterize the homologs of the BmR1 antigen in W. bancrofti (Wb-BmR1), O. volvulus (Ov-BmR1) and L. loa (Ll-BmR1) the cDNA sequences were identified, the protein expressed and the antibody reactivity of patients' sera was studied. METHODS: PCR methodology was used to identify the cDNA sequences from cDNA libraries and/or genomic DNA of W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa. The clones obtained were sequenced and compared to the cDNA sequence of BmR1. Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were expressed in E. coli and tested using an IgG4-ELISA with 262 serum samples from individuals with or without B. malayi, W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa infections or various other parasitic infections. BmR1, Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were also tested for reactivity with the other three IgG subclasses in patients' sera. RESULTS: Wb-BmR1 was found to be identical to BmR1. Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were found to be identical to each other and share 99.7% homology with BmR1. The pattern of IgG4 recognition of all serum samples to BmR1, Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 were identical. This included weak IgG4 reactivities demonstrated by L. loa- and O. volvulus-infected patients tested with Ov-BmR1 and Ll-BmR1 (or BmR1). With respect to reactivity to other IgG subclasses, sera from O. volvulus- and L. loa-infected patients showed positive reactions (when tested with BmR1, Ov-BmR1 or Ll-BmR1 antigens) only with IgG1. No reactivity was observed with IgG2 or with IgG3. Similarly, ELISAs to detect reactivity to other anti-filarial IgG subclasses antibodies showed that sera from individuals infected with B. malayi or W. bancrofti (active infections as well as patients with chronic disease) were positive with BmR1 only for IgG1 and were negative when tested with IgG2 and with IgG3 subclasses. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that homologs of the BmR1 antigen are present in W. bancrofti, O. volvulus and L. loa and that these antigens are highly conserved. Recognition of this antigen by patients' sera is similar with regard to IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3, but different for IgG4 antibodies. We conclude that the BmR1 antigen is suitable for detection of IgG4 antibodies in brugian filariasis. However, its homologs are not suitable for IgG4-based diagnosis of other filarial infections.
Brugia malayi infection is endemic in several Asian countries. Filaria-specific IgG4 antibody detection based on BmR1 recombinant antigen has been shown to be sensitive and specific for the diagnosis of brugian filariasis. Two formats of the test has been reported ie indirect ELISA (BE) and rapid dipstick test (BR). Since different test formats use different amounts of sample and reagents which may affect its sensitivity and specificity, this study was performed to compare these two test formats in the detection of B. malayi. A total of 264 blinded serum samples from India and Malaysia were employed. Group 1 comprised 164 samples from actively infected individuals and group 2 comprised 100 samples from filaria non-endemic areas. Sensitivity was 96.3% (158/164) and 90.8% (149/164) for rapid test and ELISA respectively; chi-square p=0.00. Both test formats demonstrated 100% specificity. Therefore the rapid test format was equally specific but more sensitive than the ELISA format. The ELISA format would be able to demonstrate decline in IgG4 titer post-treatment while the rapid test would be very useful for screening and diagnosis in the field.
Amoebiasis, an enteric protozoan disease caused by Entamoeba histolytica, is a public health problem in many developing countries, causing up to 100,000 fatal cases annually. Detection of the pathogenic E. histolytica and its differentiation from the non-pathogenic Entamoeba spp. play a crucial role in the clinical management of patients. Laboratory diagnosis of intestinal amoebiasis in developing countries still relies on labour-intensive and insensitive methods involving staining of stool sample and microscopy. Newer and more sensitive methods include a variety of antigen detection ELISAs and rapid tests; however, their diagnostic sensitivity and specificity seem to vary between studies, and some tests do not distinguish among the Entamoeba species. Molecular detection techniques are highly sensitive and specific and isothermal amplification approaches may be developed into field-applicable tests; however, cost is still a barrier for their use as a routine laboratory test method in most endemic areas. Laboratory diagnosis of extraintestinal amoebiasis faces challenges of lack of definitive detection of current infection and commercially available point-of-care tests. For both types of amoebiasis, there is still a need for highly sensitive and specific tests that are rapid and cost-effective for use in developing countries where the disease is prevalent. In recent years, new molecules of diagnostic value are being discovered and new tests developed. The advances in 'omics' technologies are enabling discoveries of new biomarkers that may help distinguish between different infection stages.
Adverse effects and resistance to metronidazole have motivated the search for new antiamoebic agents against Entamoeba histolytica. Control of amoeba growth may be achieved by inhibiting the function of the glycolytic enzyme and pyruvate phosphate dikinase (PPDK). In this study, we screened 10 compounds using an in vitro PPDK enzyme assay. These compounds were selected from a virtual screening of compounds in the National Cancer Institute database. The antiamoebic activity of the selected compounds was also evaluated by determining minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and IC50 values using the nitro-blue tetrazolium reduction assay. Seven of the 10 compounds showed inhibitory activities against the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)/inorganic phosphate binding site of the ATP-grasp domain. Two compounds, NSC349156 (pancratistatin) and NSC228137 (7-ethoxy-4-[4-methylphenyl] sulfonyl-3-oxido-2, 1, 3-benzoxadiazol-3-ium), exhibited inhibitory effects on the growth of E. histolytica trophozoites with MIC values of 25 and 50 μM, and IC50 values of 14 and 20.7 μM, respectively.
Laboratory diagnosis of Strongyloides infections can be grouped into direct and indirect detection methods, and a combination of the two methods is often needed to reach an accurate and timely diagnosis. This review focuses on non-conventional direct detection via molecular and antigen detection assays. Conventional PCR is the most commonly used molecular diagnostic for Strongyloides. Real-time PCR is accurate and highly sensitive for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Meanwhile, PCR-RFLP can efficiently distinguish human and dog isolates of S. stercoralis, S. fuelleborni (from monkey), and S. ratti (from rodent). Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) amplifies DNA isothermally with high specificity, efficiency, and rapidity, and has potential for point-of-care (POC) translation. As for antigen detection assay, coproantigen detection ELISAs for strongyloidiasis traditionally relied on raising rabbit polyclonal antibodies against the parasite antigens for use as capture or detection reagents. Subsequently, hybridoma technology using animals has enabled the discovery of monoclonal antibodies specific to Strongyloides antigens and was utilised to develop antigen detection assays. In recent times, phage display technology has facilitated the discovery of scFv antibody against Strongyloides protein that can accelerate the development of such assays. Improvements in both direct detection methods are being made. Strongyloides molecular diagnostics is moving from the detection of a single infection to the simultaneous detection of soil-transmitted helminths. Meanwhile, antigen detection assays can also be multiplexed and aptamers can be used as antigen binders. In the near future, these two direct detection methods may be more widely used as diagnostic tools for strongyloidiasis.