Isolation of antigenic peptides of Cowdria ruminantium and their encoding genes using a genome-derived phage display library
The development of new and effective vaccines and immunodiagnostic reagents requires the characterisation of antigenically relevant proteins and their interactions with the products of the immune system. Phage display technology was investigated as a means of elucidating some of the antigenic properties of the rickettsial parasite, Cowdria ruminantium (Cowdria). Randomly fragmented gene-derived libraries have been useful in elucidating viral and other epitopes, but only limited work has been done with entire genomes. A phage display library expressing a repertoire of Cowdria peptides was constructed. It was sufficiently large to represent the organism's genome, but lacked phages displaying peptides coded for by genes containing a Pvu II restriction enzyme site, including the one coding for the major antigenic protein 1 (MAP1). This was considered advantageous since MAP1 is immunodominant and has already been well characterised. Affinity selection with antibodies against Cowdria proteins other than MAP1 allowed several antibody-reactive peptides to be isolated. These selected sequences were placed in the context of the genome by screening a lambda bacteriophage library and by comparison with Cowdria DNA sequences. Apart from showing that antigenic mimics were present in the phage display library, six open reading frames encoding putative Cowdria proteins were identified. All had similarities to, or motifs in common with, membrane proteins and are thus likely to be exposed to the host's humoral immune system. Some of the proteins identified were larger than the antigens used to elicit the antibodies used for selection, probably as a result of the presence of cross-reactive epitopes.
Despite limitations experienced when extending a fragmented-gene approach for epitope location to genomes, it was possible to identify an antigenic region on MAP1 by comparison with selected mimics. In addition, binding peptide sequences were identified with two monoclonal antibodies that had been raised against non-Cowdria antigens. An epitope on the VP7 protein of bluetongue virus was identified and peptides were found that reacted with a monoclonal antibody directed against malignant catarrhal fever virus. Thus, apart from being able to identify several potentially important Cowdria epitopes and genes, the fragmented-genome library holds promise as a universal reagent for identifying useful mimics.
School Location:South Africa
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:biochemistry microbiology biotechnology
Date of Publication:01/01/2003