Immunogenic characterization of the chimeric surface antigen 1 and 2 (SAG1/2) of Toxoplasma gondii expressed in the yeast Pichia pastoris
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In this study, we successfully expressed a chimerical surface antigen 1 and 2 (SAG1/2) of Toxoplasma gondii in Pichia pastoris. Eighty human serum samples, including 60 from confirmed cases of toxoplasmosis, were tested against the purified recombinant SAG1/2 in Western blots. Results of Western blots targeted at Toxoplasma IgG and IgM showed that the recombinant SAG1/2 reacted with all sera from the toxoplasmosis cases but none with the Toxoplasma-negative serum samples. These results showed that the P. pastoris-derived recombinant SAG1/2 was sensitive and specific and suitable for use as antigen for detecting anti-Toxoplasma antibodies. To further investigate the immunological characteristic of the recombinant protein, the recombinant SAG1/2 was injected subcutaneously into BALB/c mice, and their serum was tested against total protein lysate of T. gondii. Mice immunized with the recombinant SAG1/2 reacted specifically with the native SAG1 and SAG2 of T. gondii. Significant proliferation of splenocytes stimulated with tachyzoite total protein lysate was observed in vaccinated BALB/c mice but not in those from negative control mice. Specific production of IFN-γ, the Th1-type cytokines, was also found in stimulated splenocytes from vaccinated mice. These results show that the chimeric protein recombinant SAG1/2 can elicit a Th1-associated protection against T. gondii infections in mice. Finally, vaccinated mice were significantly protected against lethal challenge with live T. gondii RH strain tachyzoites (P < 0.005), and their survival time increased significantly compared to the negative control.
We thank the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia for funding the research project under the E-Science Fund (grant no. 02-01-03-SF0511/02-02-10-SF0019). The monoclonal antibody 3G11 was generously provided to us by J. F. Dubremetz (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Montpellier, France). We are also grateful to Diagnostic Laboratory at the Department of Parasitology, University of Malaya for providing the serum samples.
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