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Development of a chimeric protein based on a proteomic approach for the serological diagnosis of human tegumentary leishmaniasis

Leishmania braziliensis is responsible for most cases of human tegumentary leishmaniasis (HTL) and has caused a wide range of clinical manifestations, including cutaneous (CL) and mucosal leishmaniasis (ML). The diagnosis is based on criteria that consider epidemiological data, clinical findings, and laboratory tests and is hard to establish. For laboratory tests, none of the assays available can be considered gold standards for disease detection. In addition, the Montenegro skin test, essential to supporting infectologists in the clinical management of the disease, is no longer available in Brazil. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop new targets to be used in diagnostic tests for HTL. In the first step, we carried out two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, followed by mass spectrometry, combined with heat map analysis and immunoproteomics approach, and disclosed eight proteins expressed in the amastigote stage specifically recognized by serum from CL and ML patients. A chimeric protein was designed based on the combination of thirteen linear B-cell epitopes, identified by immunoinformatics analysis, from L. braziliensis proteins. Our results showed that the strategy used in this work was successful in developing an antigen to be used in immunological assays (100.0% sensitivity and specificity) in the detection of HTL cases and in comparison with results obtained from an ELISA using soluble L. braziliensis antigen (SLb-Antigen) and immunofluorescence assay (Bio-Manguinhos/FIOCRUZ). The present technology opens the door for its use in field exams by means of an immunochromatographic test, which will be even more helpful in regions without laboratory structures.Key points• Rational strategy to develop antigens.• Integration between immunoproteomic and immunoinformatics analysis.• Chimeric protein shows high performance in HTL diagnosis.

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  • Garcia, Guilherme Caetano
  • Carvalho, Ana Maria Ravena Severino
  • Duarte, Mariana Costa
  • Silva, Matheus Fernandes Costa e
  • Medeiros, Fernanda Alvarenga Cardoso
  • Coelho, Eduardo Antonio Ferraz
  • Franco, Dênia Monteiro de Moura
  • Gonçalves, Denise Utsch
  • Mendes, Tiago Antônio de Oliveira
  • Souza, Daniel Menezes