SAG1-related sequence 3 (SRS3) is one of the major Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoite surface antigens and has been shown to be potentially useful for the detection of toxoplasmosis. This protein is highly conformational due to the presence of six disulfide bonds. To achieve solubility and antigenicity, SRS3 depends on proper disulfide bond formation. The aim of this study was to over-express the SRS3 protein with correct folding for use in serodiagnosis of the disease. To achieve this, a truncated SRS3 fusion protein (rtSRS3) was produced, containing six histidyl residues at both terminals and purified by immobilized metal affinity chromatography. The refolding process was performed through three methods, namely dialysis in the presence of chemical additives along with reduced/oxidized glutathione and drop-wise dilution methods with reduced/oxidized glutathione or reduced DTT/oxidized glutathione. Ellman's assay and ELISA showed that the protein folding obtained by the dialysis method was the most favorable, probably due to the correct folding. Subsequently, serum samples from individuals with chronic infection (n = 76), probable acute infection (n = 14), and healthy controls (n = 81) were used to determine the usefulness of the refolded rtSRS3 for Toxoplasma serodiagnosis. The results of the developed IgG-ELISA showed a diagnostic specificity of 91% and a sensitivity of 82.89% and 100% for chronic and acute serum samples, respectively. In conclusion, correctly folded rtSRS3 has the potential to be used as a soluble antigen for the detection of human toxoplasmosis.
Sera from 243 donors belonging to the four main ethnic groups in West Malaysia (Orang Asli, Malays, Chinese and Indians) were tested, using the indirect fluorescent antibody technique for the prevalence of antibodies to Sarcocystis. Almost 20% reacted positively at dilutions of 1:64 or higher and eight among the Orang Asli and Malays gave the highest titres of 1:256. Prevalence was highest in the Orang Asli and lowest in Chinese. 22 sera also reacted positively to Toxoplasma, whether due to polyparasitism or cross-reaction is, as yet, unknown.
Seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in different populations may vary according to different environments, social customs and habits. This study was designed to measure the seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis among patients with different malignancies and to ascertain the association between common risk factors and disease transmission.
Thirty in vitro serial passages of Toxoplasman gondii cultures in Vero cell line performed once in every five days had a mean increase in parasite count of 74.4 +/- 14.8 times from that of initial counts. Long term cultures in Vero cell line did not alter the virulence of the parasite. The good correlation (r = 0.99) between the IFA titer and ELISA OD values using the parasite antigens from in vitro sources indicates that long term maintenance of T. gondii in culture does not affect significantly the ability to recognize antibodies to surface and soluble antigens. The results also show that soluble antigens containing host cells can be directly used for immunodiagnostic purposes without purification. The in vitro maintenance of T. gondii is safer and cheaper when compared to the in vivo method.
We have developed an ELISA that employs monoclonal anti-Toxoplasma SAG1 (p30) as the capture antibody to detect T. gondii circulating antigens in patients' serum samples. Using serum spiked with Toxoplasma soluble and with SAG1 recombinant proteins, the detection limits were 31.25 ng/mL and 62.50 ng/mL, respectively. We obtained positive results in 28% (21/75) and 11% (23/206) of probable active and chronic toxoplasmosis serum samples, respectively. Western blot analysis on pooled antigen-positive serum samples showed antigenic bands of molecular weights 25 and 75 kDa from sera of probable active infection and five antigenic bands ranging in size from 26 to 33 kDa from chronic infection sera. This assay would be useful as an initial serum selection step in developing a Toxoplasma antigen detection test and for characterization studies.
In vitro culture of Toxoplasma gondii can provide tachyzoites which are active, viable and with desirable purity. Thus the aim of this study was to optimize the cell culture method for T. gondii propagation to obtain a consistent source of parasites with maximum yield and viability, but minimum host cell contamination for use in production of excretory-secretory antigen. Tachyzoites with seed counts of 1x10(6), 1x10(7) and 1x10(8) harvested from infected mice were added to VERO cells of different degrees of confluence, namely 50%, 85% and 100%, and examined periodically using an inverted microscope. When the maximum release of the tachyzoites was observed from the host cells, the culture supernatant was removed and the tachyzoites harvested. Using a Neubauer chamber, the percentages of viable tachyzoites and host cell contamination were determined using trypan blue stain. Parameters that gave the best yield and purity of viable tachyzoites were found to be as follows: VERO cells at 85% confluence in DMEM medium and inoculum comprising 1x10(7) tachyzoites. After about 3 days post infection, the tachyzoites multiplied 78x, with a yield of ~7.8x10(8) per flask, 99% viability and 3% host cell contamination. This study has successfully optimized the method of propagation of T. gondii tachyzoites in VERO cells which produce parasites with high yield, purity and viability.
The local Chow Kit market is the largest wet market in the city of Kuala Lumpur. It is very close to the biggest government hospital in the city centre. However, the level of cleanliness in this area is always questionable and a matter of concern. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of T. gondii oocyst in water samples used by hawkers in that market and tissue cysts in rats' brains captured from the same area. Water samples were taken to the parasitology laboratory at the National Universtiy of MalaysiaUniversity and a sugar flotation concentration method was used. Supernatant microscopical examination was then performed. A total of 752 slides were screened for the presence of T. gondii oocyst. A hundred rats wandering in the same area were also captured by the hawkers using mousetraps. After each animal was sacrificed, and an electric microtome was used to cut out serial sections 5 microm thick from the rat brains. The de-waxed tissue sections were stained by the progressive Haematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) stain for microscopical examination. A total of 1000 slides were screened under a light microscope to detect the presence of T. gondii brain cysts. All the water samples were found to be negative for T. gondii oocyst. Out of the 100 rats captured, three rats were found to possess T. gondii cysts in their brains. Water samples reflect minimal or no solid food contamination, while the 3% of positive brain cysts influence the researchers to broaden their investigations for future projects.
The surface antigen 2 (SAG2) gene of the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, was cloned and extracellularly expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris. The effectiveness of the secreted recombinant SAG2 (rSAG2-S) as a serodiagnosis reagent was assessed by western blots and ELISA. In the western blot assay, rSAG2-S reacted with all Toxoplasma-antibody positive human serum samples but not with Toxoplasma-negative samples. In the ELISA, rSAG2-S yielded sensitivity rates ranging from 80% (IgG negative, IgM positive) to 100% (IgG positive, IgM negative). In vivo experiments showed that serum from mice immunized with rSAG2-S reacted specifically with the native SAG2 of T. gondii. These mice were protected when challenged with live cells of T. gondii.
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), a rapid nucleic acid amplification method, was developed for the clinical diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. Three LAMP assays based on the SAG1, SAG2, and B1 genes of Toxoplasma gondii were developed. The sensitivities and specificities of the LAMP assays were evaluated by comparison with the results of conventional nested PCR. The LAMP assays were highly sensitive and had a detection limit of 0.1 tachyzoite, and no cross-reactivity with the DNA of other parasites was observed. Blood was collected from 105 individuals to test the LAMP assays: 40 patients with active toxoplasmosis, 40 negative controls, and 25 patients with other parasitic infections. The SAG2-based LAMP (SAG2-LAMP) had a greater sensitivity (87.5%) than the SAG1-LAMP (80%), B1-LAMP (80%), and nested PCR (62.5%). All the LAMP assays and nested PCR were 100% specific. This is the first report of a study which applied the LAMP method to diagnose toxoplasmosis from human blood samples. Due to its simplicity, sensitivity, and specificity, LAMP is suggested as an appropriate method for routine diagnosis of active toxoplasmosis in humans.
Toxoplasma gondii is an intra-cellular parasite that infects humans through vertical and horizontal transmission. The cysts remain dormant in the brain of infected humans and can reactivate in immunocompromised hosts resulting in acute toxoplasmic encephalitis which may be fatal. We determined the onset and progression of brain cysts generation in a mouse model following acute toxoplasmosis as well as the ability of brain cysts to reactivate in vitro. Male Balb/c mice, (uninfected control group, n = 10) were infected orally (study group, n = 50) with 1000 tachyzoites of T. gondii (ME49 strain) and euthanized at 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16 weeks post infection. Brain tissue was harvested, homogenized, stained and the number of brain cysts counted. Aliquots of brain homogenate with cysts were cultured in vitro with confluent Vero cells and the number of cysts and tachyzoites counted after 1 week. Brain cysts but not tachyzoites were detected at week 2 post infection and reached a plateau by week 4. In vitro Vero cells culture showed similar pattern for cysts and tachyzoites and reactivation of cyst in vitro was not influenced by the age of the brain cysts.
Rhoptry protein 2 (ROP2) of Toxoplasma gondii is a rhoptry-secreted protein that plays a critical role in parasitophorous vacuole membrane formation during invasion. In previous studies, ROP2 has been shown to be efficient in triggering humoral and cell-mediated responses. High immunogenicity of ROP2 makes it a potential candidate for diagnosis and vaccination against toxoplasmosis. In this study, the ROP2 gene was cloned into pPICZα A expression vector and extracellularly expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris, which has numerous advantages over other expression systems for eukaryotic proteins expression. The effectiveness of the secreted recombinant ROP2 as a diagnosis agent was assessed by Western Blot with 200 human serum samples. Recombinant ROP2 reacted with toxoplasmosis-positive human serum samples and yielded an overall sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 95%. However, recombinant ROP2 is a better marker for detection of IgG (91.7%) rather than IgM (80%).
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.
The aim of this cross sectional case control study was to examine the serofrequency and serointensity of Toxoplasma gondii (Tg) IgG, IgM, and DNA among patients with schizophrenia. A total of 101 patients with schizophrenia and 55 healthy controls from Sungai Buloh Hospital, Selangor, Malaysia and University Malaya Medical Center (UMMC) were included in this study. The diagnosis of schizophrenia was made based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). The presence of Tg infection was examined using both indirect (ELISA) and direct (quantitative real-time PCR) detection methods by measuring Tg IgG and IgM and DNA, respectively. The serofrequency of Tg IgG antibodies (51.5%, 52/101) and DNA (32.67%, 33/101) among patients with schizophrenia was significantly higher than IgG (18.2%, 10/55) and DNA (3.64%, 2/55) of the controls (IgG, P=0.000, OD=4.8, CI=2.2-10.5; DNA, P=0.000, OD=12.9, CI=2.17-10.51). However, the Tg IgM antibody between patients with schizophrenia and controls was not significant (P>0.005). There was no significant difference (P>0.005) in both serointensity of Tg IgG and DNA between patients with schizophrenia and controls. These findings have further demonstrated the strong association between the active Tg infection and schizophrenia.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasitic protozoan that infects nearly one-third of humans. The present study was performed to isolate and genotype T. gondii from free-range ducks in Malaysia. Sera, heads, and hearts from 205 ducks were obtained from four states in Peninsular Malaysia, and 30 (14.63%) sera were found to be seropositive when assayed with the modified agglutination test (MAT > or = 1:6). All the positive samples were inoculated into mice, and T. gondii was successfully isolated from four individual duck samples (1.95%), which were initially found to be strongly seropositive (MAT > or = 1:24). The isolates were subjected to PCR-RFLP analysis, and two T. gondii strains were identified: type I and type II. This is the first reported study on the genetic characterization of T. gondii isolates from free-range farm animals in Southeast Asia.
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.
The expressed sequence tag (EST) effort in Toxoplasma gondii has generated a substantial amount of gene information. To exploit this valuable resource, we chose to study tgd057, a novel gene identified by a large number of ESTs that otherwise show no significant match to known sequences in the database. Northern analysis showed that tgd057 is transcribed in this tachyzoite. The complete cDNA sequence of tgd057 is 1169 bp in length. Sequence analysis revealed that tgd057 possibly adopts two polyadenylation sites, utilizes the fourth in-frame ATG for translation initiation, and codes for a secretory protein. The longest open reading frame for the tgd057 gene was cloned and expressed as a recombinant protein (rd57) in Escherichia coli. Western analysis revealed that serum against rd57 recognized a molecule of ~21 kDa in the tachyzoite protein extract. This suggests that the tgd057 gene is expressed in vivo in the parasite.
Serological investigation remains the primary approach to achieve satisfactory results in Toxoplasma gondii identification. However, the accuracy of the native antigen used in the current diagnostic kits has proven to be insufficient as well as difficult to standardize, so significant efforts have been made to find alternative reagents as capture antigens. Consequently, multi-epitope peptides are promising diagnostic markers, with the potential for improving the accuracy of diagnostic kits. In this study, we described a simple, inexpensive and improved strategy to acquire such diagnostic markers. The study was aimed at producing novel synthetic protein consisting of multiple immunodominant epitopes of several T. gondii antigens.
The inhibitory effect of active fractions of Eurycoma longifolia (E. longifolia) root, namely TAF355 and TAF401, were evaluated against Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii). In our previous study, we demonstrated that T. gondii was susceptible to TAF355 and TAF401 with IC₅₀ values of 1.125 µg/mL and 1.375 µg/mL, respectively. Transmission (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations were used to study the in situ antiparasitic activity at the IC₅₀ value. Clindamycin was used as positive control. SEM examination revealed cell wall alterations with formation of invaginations followed by completely collapsed cells compared to the normal T. gondii cells in response to the fractions. The main abnormality noted via TEM study was decreased cytoplasmic volume, leaving a state of structural disorganization within the cell cytoplasm and destruction of its organelles as early as 12 h of treatment, which indicated of rapid antiparasitic activity of the E. longifolia fractions. The significant antiparasitic activity shown by the TAF355 and TAF401 active fractions of E. longifolia suggests their potential as new anti-T. gondii agent candidates.
Toxoplasma gondii infection causes toxoplasmosis, an infectious disease with worldwide prevalence. The limited efficiency of drugs against this infection, their side effects and the potential appearance of resistant strains make the search of novel drugs an essential need. We examined Eurycoma longifolia root extract and fractions as potential sources of new compounds with high activity and low toxicity. The main goal of this study was to investigate the anti-T. gondii activity of crude extract (TACME) and four fractions (TAF 273, TAF 355, TAF 191 and TAF 401) from E. longifolia, with clindamycin as the positive control.