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A study of the antigenicity of Rickettsia helvetica proteins using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis

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Hajem N, Weintraub A, Nimtz M, Römling U, Påhlson C. A study of the antigenicity of Rickettsia helvetica proteins using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. APMIS 2009; 117: 253–62.

Rickettsia helvetica is an obligate intracellular Gram-negative microorganism found in Ixodes ricinus ticks. When R. helvetica was first discovered in 1979, little was known about its physiology and it fell into oblivion until it recently was suspected of being pathogenic to humans. However, all efforts to isolate R. helvetica from patients have been unsuccessful, although serological responses against R. helvetica can be demonstrated. The aim of our study was to investigate the protein profile of R. helvetica and study the antigenicity of its proteins using two-dimensional (2D) immunoblot in order to characterize the immunological response against R. helvetica infection. Our results show that in addition to the known PS120 and OmpB antigenic R. helvetica proteins, three other antigens exist: a 60 kDa GroEL protein, a 10 kDa GroES protein and a hitherto unknown 35 kDa hypothetical protein that has similarities with ORF-RC0799 of Rickettsia conorii. Furthermore, the lipopolysaccharide showed strong antigenicity. In this study, we present the first proteome map and the first 2D immunoblot profile of R. helvetica and finally we present the 35 kDa R. helvetica as an additional antigen to the previously known rickettsial antigens.
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Keywords: 2D electrophoresis; R. helvetica; antigenic markers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology, Mälardalens University, Eskilstuna, Sweden; 2: Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Bacteriology, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden; 3: Department of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany; 4: Karolinska Institutet, Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Stockholm, Sweden; and 5: School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology, Mälardalens University, 631 05 Eskilstuna, Sweden

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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