Identification of a novel potential antigen for early-phase serodiagnosis of leptospirosis
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This study examined four genes encoding for predicted membrane proteins selected from the genome sequences of Leptospira interrogans. Genes were cloned and the proteins expressed in E. coli. Immunoblotting analysis of the recombinants with sera from early and convalescent phases of a leptospirosis patient showed that two proteins, namely Lp29 and Lp49, were reactive with serum from both phases of the illness. These data were further confirmed in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using sera from both phases of seventeen confirmed leptospirosis specimens, suggesting that these proteins are presented to the host immune system during infection. In the early phase, anti-Lp29 IgM was detected in all sera when microscopic agglutination tests (MAT), the reference method for diagnosis of leptospirosis, were negative. The gene encoding Lp49 is conserved among five tested leptospiral pathogenic serovars, while Lp29 is present in serovars that are predominant in urban settings. These recombinant antigens might be valuable for serodiagnosis of both phases of leptospirosis.