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Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Peptides in Serum Extracellular Vesicles from Persons with Latent Tuberculosis Infection


Identification of biomarkers for latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and risk of progression to tuberculosis (TB) disease are needed to better identify individuals to target for preventive therapy, predict disease risk, and potentially predict preventive therapy efficacy. Our group developed multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (MRM-MS) assays that detected M. tuberculosis peptides in serum extracellular vesicles from TB patients. We subsequently optimized this MRM-MS assay to selectively identify 40 M. tuberculosis peptides from 19 proteins that most commonly copurify with serum vesicles of patients with TB. Here, we used this technology to evaluate if M. tuberculosis peptides can also be detected in individuals with latent TB infection (LTBI). Serum extracellular vesicles from 74 individuals presumed to have latent M. tuberculosis infection (LTBI) based on close contact with a household member with TB or a recent tuberculin skin test (TST) conversion were included in this study. Twenty-nine samples from individuals with no evidence of TB infection by TST and no known exposure to TB were used as controls to establish a threshold to account for nonspecific/background signal. We identified at least one of the 40 M. tuberculosis peptides in 70 (95%) individuals with LTBI. A single peptide from the glutamine synthetase (GlnA1) enzyme was identified in 61/74 (82%) individuals with LTBI, suggesting peptides from M. tuberculosis proteins involved in nitrogen metabolism might be candidates for pathogen-specific biomarkers for detection of LTBI. The detection of M. tuberculosis peptides in serum extracellular vesicles from persons with LTBI represents a potential advance in the diagnosis of LTBI.

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