ResearchPad - antigenic-variation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Potency and breadth of human primary ZIKV immune sera shows that Zika viruses cluster antigenically as a single serotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7747 The recent emergence of Zika virus as an important human pathogen has raised questions about the durability and breadth of Zika virus immunity following natural infection in humans. While global epidemic patterns suggest that Zika infection elicits a protective immune response that is likely to offer long-term protection against repeat infection by other Zika viruses, only one study to date has formally examined the ability of human Zika immune sera to neutralize different Zika viruses. That study was limited because it evaluated human immune sera no more than 13 weeks after Zika virus infection and tested a relatively small number of Zika viruses. In this study, we examine twelve human Zika immune sera as far as 3 years after infection and test the sera against a total of eleven Zika virus isolates. Our results confirm the earlier study and epidemic patterns that suggest Zika virus exists in nature as a single serotype, and infection with one Zika virus can be expected to elicit protective immunity against repeat infection by any Zika virus for years to decades after the first infection.

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<![CDATA[Is the unique camouflage strategy of Pneumocystis associated with its particular niche within host lungs?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536a6ad5eed0c484a4736b ]]> <![CDATA[Elimination within reach: A cross-sectional study highlighting the factors that contribute to persistent lymphatic filariasis in eight communities in rural Ghana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390b89d5eed0c48491d1b8

Background

Despite the progress achieved in scaling-up mass drug administration (MDA) for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Ghana, communities with persistent LF still exist even after 10 years of community treatment. To understand the reasons for persistence, we conducted a study to assess the status of disease elimination and understand the adherence to interventions including MDA and insecticide treated nets.

Methodology and principal findings

We conducted a parasitological and epidemiological cross-sectional study in adults from eight villages still under MDA in the Northern Region savannah and the coastal Western Region of the country. Prevalence of filarial antigen ranged 0 to 32.4% and in five villages the prevalence of night blood microfilaria (mf) was above 1%, ranging from 0 to 5.7%. Median mf density was 67 mf/ml (range: 10–3,560). LF antigen positivity was positively associated with male sex but negatively associated with participating in MDA the previous year. Male sex was also associated with a decreased probability of participating in MDA. A stochastic model (TRANSFIL) was used to assess the expected microfilaria prevalence under different MDA coverage scenarios using historical data on one community in the Western Region. In this example, the model simulations suggested that the slow decline in mf prevalence is what we would expect given high baseline prevalence and a high correlation between MDA adherence from year to year, despite high MDA coverage.

Conclusions

There is a need for an integrated quantitative and qualitative research approach to identify the variations in prevalence, associated risk factors and intervention coverage and use levels between and within regions and districts. Such knowledge will help target resources and enhance surveillance to the communities most at risk and to reach the 2020 LF elimination goals in Ghana.

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<![CDATA[Canine Influenza Virus A(H3N2) Clade with Antigenic Variation, China, 2016–2017]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c354d10d5eed0c484dd34d6

During 2012–2017, we collected throat swabs from dogs in China to characterize canine influenza virus (CIV) A(H3N2) isolates. A new antigenically and genetically distinct CIV H3N2 clade possessing mutations associated with mammalian adaptation emerged in 2016 and replaced previously circulating strains. This clade probably poses a risk for zoonotic infection.

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<![CDATA[Ribonuclease H1-targeted R-loops in surface antigen gene expression sites can direct trypanosome immune evasion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1c0ab6d5eed0c484426932

Switching of the Variant Surface Glycoprotein (VSG) in Trypanosoma brucei provides a crucial host immune evasion strategy that is catalysed both by transcription and recombination reactions, each operating within specialised telomeric VSG expression sites (ES). VSG switching is likely triggered by events focused on the single actively transcribed ES, from a repertoire of around 15, but the nature of such events is unclear. Here we show that RNA-DNA hybrids, called R-loops, form preferentially within sequences termed the 70 bp repeats in the actively transcribed ES, but spread throughout the active and inactive ES, in the absence of RNase H1, which degrades R-loops. Loss of RNase H1 also leads to increased levels of VSG coat switching and replication-associated genome damage, some of which accumulates within the active ES. This work indicates VSG ES architecture elicits R-loop formation, and that these RNA-DNA hybrids connect T. brucei immune evasion by transcription and recombination.

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<![CDATA[Global emergence and population dynamics of divergent serotype 3 CC180 pneumococci]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c059dbdd5eed0c4849c8ffb

Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 3 remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite inclusion in the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13). Serotype 3 increased in carriage since the implementation of PCV13 in the USA, while invasive disease rates remain unchanged. We investigated the persistence of serotype 3 in carriage and disease, through genomic analyses of a global sample of 301 serotype 3 isolates of the Netherlands3–31 (PMEN31) clone CC180, combined with associated patient data and PCV utilization among countries of isolate collection. We assessed phenotypic variation between dominant clades in capsule charge (zeta potential), capsular polysaccharide shedding, and susceptibility to opsonophagocytic killing, which have previously been associated with carriage duration, invasiveness, and vaccine escape. We identified a recent shift in the CC180 population attributed to a lineage termed Clade II, which was estimated by Bayesian coalescent analysis to have first appeared in 1968 [95% HPD: 1939–1989] and increased in prevalence and effective population size thereafter. Clade II isolates are divergent from the pre-PCV13 serotype 3 population in non-capsular antigenic composition, competence, and antibiotic susceptibility, the last of which resulting from the acquisition of a Tn916-like conjugative transposon. Differences in recombination rates among clades correlated with variations in the ATP-binding subunit of Clp protease, as well as amino acid substitutions in the comCDE operon. Opsonophagocytic killing assays elucidated the low observed efficacy of PCV13 against serotype 3. Variation in PCV13 use among sampled countries was not independently correlated with the CC180 population shift; therefore, genotypic and phenotypic differences in protein antigens and, in particular, antibiotic resistance may have contributed to the increase of Clade II. Our analysis emphasizes the need for routine, representative sampling of isolates from disperse geographic regions, including historically under-sampled areas. We also highlight the value of genomics in resolving antigenic and epidemiological variations within a serotype, which may have implications for future vaccine development.

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<![CDATA[Incidence of AIDS-Defining Opportunistic Infections and Mortality during Antiretroviral Therapy in a Cohort of Adult HIV-Infected Individuals in Hanoi, 2007-2014]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5bab0ee8fa60b8ff7f

Background

Although the prognosis for HIV-infected individuals has improved after antiretroviral therapy (ART) scale-up, limited data exist on the incidence of AIDS-defining opportunistic infections (ADIs) and mortality during ART in resource-limited settings.

Methods

HIV-infected adults in two large hospitals in urban Hanoi were enrolled to the prospective cohort, from October 2007 through December 2013. Those who started ART less than one year before enrollment were assigned to the survival analysis. Data on ART history and ADIs were collected retrospectively at enrollment and followed-up prospectively until April 2014.

Results

Of 2,070 cohort participants, 1,197 were eligible for analysis and provided 3,446 person-years (PYs) of being on ART. Overall, 161 ADIs episodes were noted at a median of 3.20 months after ART initiation (range 0.03–75.8) with an incidence 46.7/1,000 PYs (95% confidence interval [CI] 39.8–54.5). The most common ADI was tuberculosis with an incidence of 29.9/1,000 PYs. Mortality after ART initiation was 8.68/1,000 PYs and 45% (19/45) died of AIDS-related illnesses. Age over 50 years at ART initiation was significantly associated with shorter survival after controlling for baseline CD4 count, but neither having injection drug use (IDU) history nor previous ADIs were associated with poor survival. Semi-competing risks analysis in 951 patients without ADIs history prior to ART showed those who developed ADIs after starting ART were at higher risk of death in the first six months than after six months.

Conclusion

ADIs were not rare in spite of being on effective ART. Age over 50 years, but not IDU history, was associated with shorter survival in the cohort. This study provides in-depth data on the prognosis of patients on ART in Vietnam during the first decade of ART scale-up.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Low- and High-Impact Hemagglutinin Amino Acid Substitutions That Drive Antigenic Drift of Influenza A(H1N1) Viruses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daccab0ee8fa60bb49d8

Determining phenotype from genetic data is a fundamental challenge. Identification of emerging antigenic variants among circulating influenza viruses is critical to the vaccine virus selection process, with vaccine effectiveness maximized when constituents are antigenically similar to circulating viruses. Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay data are commonly used to assess influenza antigenicity. Here, sequence and 3-D structural information of hemagglutinin (HA) glycoproteins were analyzed together with corresponding HI assay data for former seasonal influenza A(H1N1) virus isolates (1997–2009) and reference viruses. The models developed identify and quantify the impact of eighteen amino acid substitutions on the antigenicity of HA, two of which were responsible for major transitions in antigenic phenotype. We used reverse genetics to demonstrate the causal effect on antigenicity for a subset of these substitutions. Information on the impact of substitutions allowed us to predict antigenic phenotypes of emerging viruses directly from HA gene sequence data and accuracy was doubled by including all substitutions causing antigenic changes over a model incorporating only the substitutions with the largest impact. The ability to quantify the phenotypic impact of specific amino acid substitutions should help refine emerging techniques that predict the evolution of virus populations from one year to the next, leading to stronger theoretical foundations for selection of candidate vaccine viruses. These techniques have great potential to be extended to other antigenically variable pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Masters of Disguise: Antigenic Variation and the VSG Coat in Trypanosoma brucei]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7cab0ee8fa60b98d56 ]]> <![CDATA[The effects of residual platelets in plasma on plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1-related assays]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb988

Due to controversial evidence in the literature pertaining to the activity of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in platelets, we examined the effects of residual platelets present in plasma (a potential pre-analytical variable) on various plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1-related assays. Blood samples were collected from 151 individuals and centrifuged at 352 and 1500 g to obtain plasma with varying numbers of platelet. In a follow-up study, blood samples were collected from an additional 23 individuals, from whom platelet-poor (2000 g), platelet-containing (352 g) and platelet-rich plasma (200 g) were prepared and analysed as fresh-frozen and after five defrost-refreeze cycles (to determine the contribution of in vitro platelet degradation). Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen, tissue plasminogen activator/plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 complex, plasma clot lysis time, β-thromboglobulin and plasma platelet count were analysed. Platelet α-granule release (plasma β-thromboglobulin) showed a significant association with plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen levels but weak associations with plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity and a functional marker of fibrinolysis, clot lysis time. Upon dividing the study population into quartiles based on β-thromboglobulin levels, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen increased significantly across the quartiles while plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity and clot lysis time tended to increase in the 4th quartile only. In the follow-up study, plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen was also significantly influenced by platelet count in a concentration-dependent manner. Plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen levels increased further after complete platelet degradation. Residual platelets in plasma significantly influence plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 antigen levels mainly through release of latent plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 with limited effects on plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity, tissue plasminogen activator/plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 complex or plasma clot lysis time. Platelets may however also have functional effects on plasma fibrinolytic potential in the presence of high platelet counts, such as in platelet-rich plasma.

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<![CDATA[Vaccination has minimal impact on the intrahost diversity of H3N2 influenza viruses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdd104

While influenza virus diversity and antigenic drift have been well characterized on a global scale, the factors that influence the virus’ rapid evolution within and between human hosts are less clear. Given the modest effectiveness of seasonal vaccination, vaccine-induced antibody responses could serve as a potent selective pressure for novel influenza variants at the individual or community level. We used next generation sequencing of patient-derived viruses from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of vaccine efficacy to characterize the diversity of influenza A virus and to define the impact of vaccine-induced immunity on within-host populations. Importantly, this study design allowed us to isolate the impact of vaccination while still studying natural infection. We used pre-season hemagglutination inhibition and neuraminidase inhibition titers to quantify vaccine-induced immunity directly and to assess its impact on intrahost populations. We identified 166 cases of H3N2 influenza over 3 seasons and 5119 person-years. We obtained whole genome sequence data for 119 samples and used a stringent and empirically validated analysis pipeline to identify intrahost single nucleotide variants at ≥1% frequency. Phylogenetic analysis of consensus hemagglutinin and neuraminidase sequences showed no stratification by pre-season HAI and NAI titer, respectively. In our study population, we found that the vast majority of intrahost single nucleotide variants were rare and that very few were found in more than one individual. Most samples had fewer than 15 single nucleotide variants across the entire genome, and the level of diversity did not significantly vary with day of sampling, vaccination status, or pre-season antibody titer. Contrary to what has been suggested in experimental systems, our data indicate that seasonal influenza vaccination has little impact on intrahost diversity in natural infection and that vaccine-induced immunity may be only a minor contributor to antigenic drift at local scales.

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<![CDATA[The Impact of Nitration on the Structure and Immunogenicity of the Major Birch Pollen Allergen Bet v 1.0101]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1fab0ee8fa60b7e32e

Allergy prevalence has increased in industrialized countries. One contributing factor could be pollution, which can cause nitration of allergens exogenously (in the air) or endogenously (in inflamed lung tissue). We investigated the impact of nitration on both the structural and immunological behavior of the major birch pollen allergen Bet v 1.0101 to determine whether nitration might be a factor in the increased incidence of allergy. Bet v 1.0101 was nitrated with tetranitromethane. Immune effects were assessed by measuring the proliferation of specific T-cell lines (TCLs) upon stimulation with different concentrations of nitrated and unmodified allergen, and by measurement of cytokine release of monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) and primary DCs (primDCs) stimulated with nitrated versus unmodified allergen. HPLC-MS, crystallography, gel electrophoresis, amino acid analysis, size exclusion chromatography and molecular dynamics simulation were performed to characterize structural changes after nitration of the allergen. The proliferation of specific TCLs was higher upon stimulation with the nitrated allergen in comparison to the unmodified allergen. An important structural consequence of nitration was oligomerization. Moreover, analysis of the crystal structure of nitrated Bet v 1.0101 showed that amino acid residue Y83, located in the hydrophobic cavity, was nitrated to 100%. Both moDCs and primDCs showed decreased production of TH1-priming cytokines, thus favoring a TH2 response. These results implicate that nitration of Bet v 1.0101 might be a contributing factor to the observed increase in birch pollen allergy, and emphasize the importance of protein modifications in understanding the molecular basis of allergenicity.

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<![CDATA[Predicted Strain Coverage of a New Meningococcal Multicomponent Vaccine (4CMenB) in Spain: Analysis of the Differences with Other European Countries]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da33ab0ee8fa60b8518e

Background

A novel meningococcal multicomponent vaccine, 4CMenB (Bexsero®), has been approved in Europe, Canada, Australia and US. The potential impact of 4CMenB on strain coverage is being estimated by using Meningococcal Antigen Typing System (MATS), an ELISA assay which measures vaccine antigen expression and diversity in each strain. Here we show the genetic characterization and the 4CMenB potential coverage of Spanish invasive strains (collected during one epidemiological year) compared to other European countries and discuss the potential reasons for the lower estimate of coverage in Spain.

Material and Methods

A panel of 300 strains, a representative sample of all serogroup B Neisseria meningitidis notified cases in Spain from 2009 to 2010, was characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and FetA variable region determination. 4CMenB vaccine antigens, PorA, factor H binding protein (fHbp), Neisseria Heparin Binding Antigen (NHBA) and Neisserial adhesin A (NadA) were molecularly typed by sequencing. PorA coverage was assigned to strain with VR2 = 4. The levels of expression and cross-reactivity of fHbp, NHBA and NadA were analyzed using MATS ELISA.

Findings

Global estimated strain coverage by MATS was 68.67% (95% CI: 47.77–84.59%), with 51.33%, 15.33% and 2% of strains covered by one, two and three vaccine antigens, respectively. The predicted strain coverage by individual antigens was: 42% NHBA, 36.33% fHbp, 8.33% PorA and 1.33% NadA. Coverage within the most prevalent clonal complexes (cc) was 70.37% for cc 269, 30.19% for cc 213 and 95.83% for cc 32.

Conclusions

Clonal complexes (cc) distribution accounts for variations in strain coverage, so that country-by-country investigations of strain coverage and cc prevalence are important. Because the cc distribution could also vary over time, which in turn could lead to changes in strain coverage, continuous detailed surveillance and monitoring of vaccine antigens expression is needed in those countries where the multicomponent vaccine is introduced. This is really important in countries like Spain where most of the strains are predicted to be covered by only one vaccine antigen and the chance for escape mutants to emerge with vaccine use is higher. Based on the observed data, cc213 should receive special attention as it is associated with low predicted strain coverage, and has recently emerged in Spain.

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<![CDATA[Influence of HLA-DRB1 Alleles on the Variations of Antibody Response to Tuberculosis Serodiagnostic Antigens in Active Tuberculosis Patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4aab0ee8fa60bd9f35

Serology-based tests for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis, though rapid, efficient and easily implemented, have so far shown unsatisfactory levels of sensitivity and specificity, probably due to variations of the antibody response in TB patients. The number and types of seropositive antigens vary from individual to individual. The person-to-person variations of antigen recognition may be linked to genetic polymorphisms of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II alleles. In the present study, we find that there is a significant increase in the frequency of HLA-DRB1*14 (P = 2.5×10−4) among subjects with high antibody response levels compared to those with low antibody levels. HLA-DRB1*15, the most frequent allelic group in the studied active TB population, positively correlates with subjects with low antibody response levels rather than subjects with high antibody response levels (P = 0.005), which indicates the loss of relevant antigens for screening of patients with this allelic group. The potential association between HLA-DRB1 allelic group and individual antigens implies that TB diagnostic yield could be improved by the addition of antigens screened at the proteome scale in infected subjects from the HLA-DRB1*15 allelic group.

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<![CDATA[An in vivo system for directed experimental evolution of rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbe3b

The calicivirus Rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is widely used in Australia as a biocontrol agent to manage wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) populations. However, widespread herd immunity limits the effectiveness of the currently used strain, CAPM V-351. To overcome this, we developed an experimental platform for the selection and characterisation of novel RHDV strains. As RHDV does not replicate in cell culture, variant viruses were selected by serially passaging a highly virulent RHDV field isolate in immunologically naïve laboratory rabbits that were passively immunised 18–24 hours post-challenge with a neutralising monoclonal antibody. After seven passages, two amino acid substitutions in the P2 domain of the capsid protein became fixed within the virus population. Furthermore, a synonymous substitution within the coding sequence of the viral polymerase appeared and was also maintained in all subsequent passages. These findings demonstrate proof-of-concept that RHDV evolution can be experimentally manipulated to select for virus variants with altered phenotypes, in this case partial immune escape.

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<![CDATA[The Pilin N-terminal Domain Maintains Neisseria gonorrhoeae Transformation Competence during Pilus Phase Variation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8fab0ee8fa60b9f455

The obligate human pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae is the sole aetiologic agent of the sexually transmitted infection, gonorrhea. Required for gonococcal infection, Type IV pili (Tfp) mediate many functions including adherence, twitching motility, defense against neutrophil killing, and natural transformation. Critical for immune escape, the gonococcal Tfp undergoes antigenic variation, a recombination event at the pilE locus that varies the surface exposed residues of the major pilus subunit PilE (pilin) in the pilus fiber. This programmed recombination system has the potential to produce thousands of pilin variants and can produce strains with unproductive pilin molecules that are completely unable to form Tfp. Saturating mutagenesis of the 3’ third of the pilE gene identified 68 unique single nucleotide mutations that each resulted in an underpiliated colony morphology. Notably, all isolates, including those with undetectable levels of pilin protein and no observable surface-exposed pili, retained an intermediate level of transformation competence not exhibited in ΔpilE strains. Site-directed, nonsense mutations revealed that only the first 38 amino acids of the mature pilin N-terminus (the N-terminal domain or Ntd) are required for transformation competence, and microscopy, ELISAs and pilus purification demonstrate that extended Tfp are not required for competence. Transformation in strains producing only the pilin Ntd has the same genetic determinants as wild-type transformation. The Ntd corresponds to the alternative product of S-pilin cleavage, a specific proteolysis unique to pathogenic Neisseria. Mutation of the S-pilin cleavage site demonstrated that S-pilin cleavage mediated release of the Ntd is required for competence when a strain produces unproductive pilin molecules that cannot assemble into a Tfp through mutation or antigenic variation. We conclude that S-pilin cleavage evolved as a mechanism to maintain competence in nonpiliated antigenic variants and suggest there are alternate forms of the Tfp assembly apparatus that mediate various functions including transformation.

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<![CDATA[Development of Germline-Humanized Antibodies Neutralizing Botulinum Neurotoxin A and B]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daefab0ee8fa60bc0c85

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are counted among the most toxic substances known and are responsible for human botulism, a life-threatening disease characterized by flaccid muscle paralysis that occurs naturally by food poisoning or colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by BoNT-producing clostridia. To date, 7 serologically distinct serotypes of BoNT (serotype A-G) are known. Due to the high toxicity of BoNTs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have classified BoNTs as category A agent, including the six biological agents with the highest potential risk of use as bioweapons. Well tolerated antibodies neutralizing BoNTs are required to deal with the potential risk. In a previous work, we described the development of scFv and scFv-Fc (Yumab) from macaque origin (Macaca fascicularis) neutralizing BoNT/A and B by targeting the heavy and light chain of each serotype. In the present study, we humanized the macaque antibodies SEM120-IIIC1 (anti-BoNT/A light chain), A1HC38 (anti-BoNT/A heavy chain), BLC3 (anti-BoNT/B light chain) and B2-7 (anti-BoNT/B heavy chain) by germline-humanization to obtain a better potential immunotolerance in humans. We increased the Germinality Index (GI) of SEM120-IIIC1 to 94.5%, for A1HC38, to 95% for BLC3 and to 94.4% for B2-7. Furthermore, the neutralization efficacies of the germline-humanized antibodies were analyzed in lethal and non-lethal in vivo mouse assays as full IgG. The germline-humanized IgGs hu8SEM120-IIIC1, hu8A1HC38, hu8BLC3 and hu8B2-7 were protective in vivo, when anti-heavy and anti-light chain antibodies were combined. The synergistic effect and high humanness of the selected IgGs makes them promising lead candidates for further clinical development.

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<![CDATA[Genes encoding two Theileria parva antigens recognized by CD8+ T-cells exhibit sequence diversity in South Sudanese cattle populations but the majority of alleles are similar to the Muguga component of the live vaccine cocktail]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdbb54

East Coast fever (ECF), caused by Theileria parva infection, is a frequently fatal disease of cattle in eastern, central and southern Africa, and an emerging disease in South Sudan. Immunization using the infection and treatment method (ITM) is increasingly being used for control in countries affected by ECF, but not yet in South Sudan. It has been reported that CD8+ T-cell lymphocytes specific for parasitized cells play a central role in the immunity induced by ITM and a number of T. parva antigens recognized by parasite-specific CD8+ T-cells have been identified. In this study we determined the sequence diversity among two of these antigens, Tp1 and Tp2, which are under evaluation as candidates for inclusion in a sub-unit vaccine. T. parva samples (n = 81) obtained from cattle in four geographical regions of South Sudan were studied for sequence polymorphism in partial sequences of the Tp1 and Tp2 genes. Eight positions (1.97%) in Tp1 and 78 positions (15.48%) in Tp2 were shown to be polymorphic, giving rise to four and 14 antigen variants in Tp1 and Tp2, respectively. The overall nucleotide diversity in the Tp1 and Tp2 genes was π = 1.65% and π = 4.76%, respectively. The parasites were sampled from regions approximately 300 km apart, but there was limited evidence for genetic differentiation between populations. Analyses of the sequences revealed limited numbers of amino acid polymorphisms both overall and in residues within the mapped CD8+ T-cell epitopes. Although novel epitopes were identified in the samples from South Sudan, a large number of the samples harboured several epitopes in both antigens that were similar to those in the T. parva Muguga reference stock, which is a key component in the widely used live vaccine cocktail.

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<![CDATA[Antigenic Relationships among Human Pathogenic Orientia tsutsugamushi Isolates from Thailand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3fab0ee8fa60bd6247

Background

Scrub typhus is a common cause of undiagnosed febrile illness in certain tropical regions, but can be easily treated with antibiotics. The causative agent, Orientia tsutsugamushi, is antigenically variable which complicates diagnosis and efforts towards vaccine development.

Methodology/Principal Findings

This study aimed to dissect the antigenic and genetic relatedness of O. tsutsugamushi strains and investigate sero-diagnostic reactivities by titrating individual patient sera against their O. tsutsugamushi isolates (whole-cell antigen preparation), in homologous and heterologous serum-isolate pairs from the same endemic region in NE Thailand. The indirect immunofluorescence assay was used to titrate Orientia tsutsugamushi isolates and human sera, and a mathematical technique, antigenic cartography, was applied to these data to visualise the antigenic differences and cross-reactivity between strains and sera. No functional or antigen-specific analyses were performed. The antigenic variation found in clinical isolates was much less pronounced than the genetic differences found in the 56kDa type-specific antigen genes. The Karp-like sera were more broadly reactive than the Gilliam-like sera.

Conclusions/Significance

Antigenic cartography worked well with scrub typhus indirect immunofluorescence titres. The data from humoral responses suggest that a Karp-like strain would provide broader antibody cross-reactivity than a Gilliam-like strain. Although previous exposure to O. tsutsugamushi could not be ruled out, scrub typhus patient serum antibody responses were characterised by strong homologous, but weak heterologous antibody titres, with little evidence for cross-reactivity by Gilliam-like sera, but a broader response from some Karp-like sera. This work highlights the importance of antigenic variation in O. tsutsugamushi diagnosis and determination of new serotypes.

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<![CDATA[Evaluation of Antigens for Development of a Serological Test for Human African Trypanosomiasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fbab0ee8fa60b71db5

Background

Control and elimination of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) can be accelerated through the use of diagnostic tests that are more accurate and easier to deploy. The goal of this work was to evaluate the immuno-reactivity of antigens and identify candidates to be considered for development of a simple serological test for the detection of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense or T. b. rhodesiense infections, ideally both.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The reactivity of 35 antigens was independently evaluated by slot blot and ELISA against sera from both T. b. gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense infected patients and controls. The antigens that were most reactive by both tests to T. b. gambiense sera were the membrane proteins VSG LiTat 1.3, VSG LiTat 1.5 and ISG64. Reactivity to T. b. rhodesiense sera was highest with VSG LiTat 1.3, VSG LiTat 1.5 and SRA, although much lower than with T. b. gambiense samples. The reactivity of all possible combinations of antigens was also calculated. When the slot blot results of 2 antigens were paired, a VSG LiTat 1.3- ISG75 combination performed best on T. b. gambiense sera, while a VSG LiTat 1.3-VSG LiTat 1.5 combination was the most reactive using ELISA. A combination of SRA and either VSG LiTat 1.3 or VSG LiTat 1.5 had the highest reactivity on T. b. rhodesiense sera according to slot blot, while in ELISA, pairing SRA with either GM6 or VSG LiTat 1.3 yielded the best results.

Conclusions

This study identified antigens that were highly reactive to T. b. gambiense sera, which could be considered for developing a serological test for gambiense HAT, either individually or in combination. Antigens with potential for inclusion in a test for T. b. rhodesiense HAT were also identified, but because their reactivity was comparatively lower, a search for additional antigens would be required before developing a test for this form of the disease.

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