METHODS: Recombinant PPDK (rPPDK) was expressed, purified and evaluated by Western blot. In parallel, recombinant galactose-and-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine inhibitable lectin (Gal/GalNAc lectin) was produced and tested similarly. The protein identity was confirmed by analysis using MALDI-TOF/TOF. A lateral flow dipstick (LFD) test using rPPDK was subsequently developed (rPPDK-LFD) and evaluated for serodiagnosis of ALA.
RESULTS: rPPDK was expressed as soluble protein after 4 hours of induction with 1 mM isopropyl β-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) at 30°C. Purification using nickel-nitrilotriacetic acid (Ni-NTA) resin yielded 1.5 mg of rPPDK from 1 L of culture with estimated molecular mass of 98 kDa on SDS-PAGE. Western blots using sera from patients with ALA, healthy individuals and other diseases probed with anti-human IgG4-HRP showed the highest sensitivity (93.3%) and specificity (100%); as compared to blots using IgG and IgG1 as secondary antibodies. Moreover, rPPDK showed better specificity when compared to rGal/GalNAc lectin. In the development of the LFD test, the optimum amount of rPPDK was 0.625 μg per dipstick and the optimum working concentration of colloidal gold conjugated anti-human IgG4 was optical density (OD) 5 (1.7 μg of anti-human IgG4). Evaluation of rPPDK-LFD using ALA patients and controls serum samples showed 87% diagnostic sensitivity and 100% specificity.
CONCLUSION: The developed rPPDK-LFD showed good potential for rapid diagnosis of ALA, and merit further multicentre validation using larger number of serum samples.
CASE PRESENTATION: In September 2010, a 58-year-old diabetic Malaysian male presented with fever and a fluctuant mass on the right side of his neck. B. pseudomallei was isolated from an aspirate of this lesion and there was radiological evidence of disseminated infection in the liver and spleen. The recurrence of clinical symptoms over ensuing months prompted further aspiration and biopsy of a cervical abscess and underlying lymph nodes. Salmonella enterica serovar Stanley and then M. tuberculosis were identified from these specimens by culture and molecular methods. The patient responded to targeted medical management of each of these infections.
CONCLUSION: In endemic settings, a high index of suspicion and adequate tissue sampling are imperative in identifying these pathogenic organisms. Diabetes was identified as a predisposing factor in this case while our understanding of other potential risk factors is evolving.