Author(s): Hickman CJ, Stover CK, Joseph SW, Oaks EV
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Abstract A polyclonal T-cell line with TH1 characteristics was used to assess the murine cellular immune response to native and recombinant Rickettsia tsutsugamushi antigens. Proliferation of this T-cell line was observed in response to numerous native antigen fractions, which indicates that the murine T-helper-cell response is directed at multiple scrub typhus antigens with no apparent antigenic immunodominance. Subsequent analysis of recombinant R. tsutsugamushi antigens made it possible to identify a 47-kDa scrub typhus antigen (Sta47) that was stimulatory for the polyclonal T-cell line. Recombinant clones encoding 56-, 58-, and 110-kDa antigens (Sta56, Sta58, and Sta110, respectively) were unable to induce proliferation of this T-cell line. DNA sequence analysis of the cloned rickettsial insert encoding the Sta47 protein revealed the presence of four open reading frames potentially encoding proteins of 47, 30, 18, and 13 kDa. Analysis of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis-separated and eluted fractions of lysates from the recombinant HB101(pRTS47B4.3) demonstrated that the fractions containing the 47-kDa protein as well as those containing proteins less than 18 kDa were stimulatory. Selected synthetic amphipathic peptides derived from the Sta47 antigen sequence identified a 20-amino-acid peptide that gave a 10-fold increase in T-cell proliferation over a control malarial peptide of similar length. Recognition of the 47-kDa antigen by a T-cell line with TH1 characteristics implicates this protein as one of potential importance in protection studies and future vaccine development.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination