With the genome sequence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis determined, technologies are now being developed for construction of protein arrays to detect the presence of antibodies against M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis in host serum. The power of this approach is that it enables a direct comparison of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis proteins to each other in relation to their immunostimulatory capabilities. In this study, 93 recombinant proteins, produced in Escherichia coli, were arrayed and spotted onto nitrocellulose. These proteins include unknown hypothetical proteins and cell surface proteins as well as proteins encoded by large sequence polymorphisms present uniquely in M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Also included were previously reported or known M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis antigens to serve as a frame of reference. Sera from healthy control cattle (n = 3) and cattle infected with either M. avium subsp. avium and Mycobacterium bovis were exposed to the array to identify nonspecific or cross-reactive epitopes. These data demonstrated a degree of cross-reactivity with the M. avium subsp. avium proteins that was higher than the degree of cross-reactivity with the more distantly related M. bovis proteins. Finally, sera from naturally infected cattle (n = 3) as well as cattle experimentally infected with M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (n = 3) were used to probe the array to identify antigens in the context of Johne's disease. Three membrane proteins were the most strongly detected in all serum samples, and they included an invasion protein, an ABC peptide transport permease, and a putative GTPase protein. This powerful combination of genomic information, molecular tools, and immunological assays has enabled the identification of previously unknown antigens of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases