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Large Scale Immune Profiling of Infected Humans and Goats Reveals Differential Recognition of Brucella melitensis Antigens

  • Author(s): Liang, Li
  • Leng, Diana
  • Burk, Chad
  • Nakajima-Sasaki, Rie
  • Kayala, Matthew A
  • Atluri, Vidya L
  • Pablo, Jozelyn
  • Unal, Berkay
  • Ficht, Thomas A
  • Gotuzzo, Eduardo
  • Saito, Mayuko
  • Morrow, W. John W
  • Liang, Xiaowu
  • Baldi, Pierre
  • Gilman, Robert H
  • Vinetz, Joseph M
  • Tsolis, Rene M
  • Felgner, Philip L
  • et al.
Abstract

Brucellosis is a widespread zoonotic disease that is also a potential agent of bioterrorism. Current serological assays to diagnose human brucellosis in clinical settings are based on detection of agglutinating anti-LPS antibodies. To better understand the universe of antibody responses that develop after B. melitensis infection, a protein microarray was fabricated containing 1,406 predicted B. melitensis proteins. The array was probed with sera from experimentally infected goats and naturally infected humans from an endemic region in Peru. The assay identified 18 antigens differentially recognized by infected and non-infected goats, and 13 serodiagnostic antigens that differentiate human patients proven to have acute brucellosis from syndromically similar patients. There were 31 cross-reactive antigens in healthy goats and 20 cross-reactive antigens in healthy humans. Only two of the serodiagnostic antigens and eight of the cross-reactive antigens overlap between humans and goats. Based on these results, a nitrocellulose line blot containing the human serodiagnostic antigens was fabricated and applied in a simple assay that validated the accuracy of the protein microarray results in the diagnosis of humans. These data demonstrate that an experimentally infected natural reservoir host produces a fundamentally different immune response than a naturally infected accidental human host.

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