Identification, characterization, and synthesis of peptide epitopes and a recombinant six-epitope protein for Trichomonas vaginalis serodiagnosis
J F Alderete, Calvin J Neace
School of Molecular Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
Abstract: There is a need for a rapid, accurate serodiagnostic test useful for both women and men infected by Trichomonas vaginalis, which causes the number one sexually transmitted infection (STI). Women and men exposed to T. vaginalis make serum antibody to fructose-1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (ALD), α-enolase (ENO), and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAP). We identified, by epitope mapping, the common and distinct epitopes of each protein detected by the sera of women patients with trichomonosis and by the sera of men highly seropositive to the immunogenic protein α-actinin (positive control sera). We analyzed the amino acid sequences to determine the extent of identity of the epitopes of each protein with other proteins in the databanks. This approach identified epitopes unique to T. vaginalis, indicating these peptide-epitopes as possible targets for a serodiagnostic test. Individual or combinations of 15-mer peptide epitopes with low to no identity with other proteins were reactive with positive control sera from both women and men but were unreactive with negative control sera. These analyses permitted the synthesis of a recombinant His6 fusion protein of 111 amino acids with an Mr of ~13.4 kDa, which consisted of 15-mer peptides of two distinct epitopes each for ALD, ENO, and GAP. This recombinant protein was purified by affinity chromatography. This composite protein was detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), dot blots, and immunoblots, using positive control sera from women and men. These data indicate that it is possible to identify epitopes and that either singly, in combination, or as a composite protein represent targets for a point-of-care serodiagnostic test for T. vaginalis.
Keywords: diagnostics, point-of-care, targets, trichomonosis
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