Human monocytic ehrlichiosis is an emerging infectious disease caused by Ehrlichia chaffeensis, a gram-negative obligatory intracellular bacterium closely related to E. canis. The immunoreactive recombinant fusion proteins rP28 and rP30 have become available after cloning and expressing of the 28- and 30-kDa major outer membrane protein genes of E. chaffeensis and E. canis, respectively. Western immunoblotting was performed to analyze the antibody responses of the 37 E. chaffeensis indirect fluorescent-antibody assay (IFA)- positive and 20 IFA-negative serum specimens with purified whole organisms, rP28, and rP30. All IFA-negative sera were negative with purified whole organisms, rP28, or rP30 by Western immunoblot analysis (100% relative diagnostic specificity). Of 37 IFA-positive sera, 34 sera reacted with any native proteins of E. chaffeensis ranging from 44 to 110 kDa, and 30 sera reacted with 44- to 110-kDa native E. canis antigens. The 28-kDa E. chaffeensis and 30-kDa E. canis native proteins were recognized by 25 IFA- positive sera. Fifteen IFA-positive sera reacted with rP28 by Western blot analysis, whereas 34 IFA-positive sera reacted with rP30 (92% relative diagnostic specificity), indicating that rP30 is more sensitive than rP28 for detecting the antibodies in IFA-positive sera. These 34 IFA-positive sera were positive by the dot blot assay with rP30, distinguishing them from IFA- negative sera. Except for three rP30-negative but IFA-positive specimens that instead showed an E. ewingii infection-like profile by Western immunoblotting, the results of Western and dot blot assays with rP30 matched 100% with the IFA test results. Densitometric analysis of dot blot reactions showed a positive correlation between the dot density and the IFA titer. These results suggest that rP30 antigen would provide a simple, consistent, and rapid serodiagnosis for human monocytic ehrlichiosis.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of clinical microbiology|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1999|