Exploration of novel cellular and serological antigen biomarkers in the orfeome of mycobacterium tuberculosis

Liguo Liu, Wei Jia Zhang, Jianhua Zheng, Hua Fu, Qi Chen, Zongde Zhang, Xinchun Chen, Boping Zhou, Lu Feng, Haiying Liu, Qi Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence demonstrates that antigen-specific cellular and humoral immunity plays an indispensable role in protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Antigen is a key element in the development of a successful diagnostic method and vaccine. However, few antigens are available, and a systemic study on M. tuberculosis ORFeome-based antigen screening is still lacking. In the current study, a genome-wide examination was conducted on high-throughput M. tuberculosis encoding proteins and novel antigens were identified via a comprehensive investigation of serological and antigen-specific cellular responses. The serological immunoglobulin G level of each protein was detected in pooled sera from 200 pulmonary tuberculosis patients by means of semi-quantitative Western blot. Of the 1,250 detected proteins, 29 were present at a higher level relative to the commercialized 38-kDa protein. Furthermore, the top 12 of the 29 proteins had not been previously reported, and their antigenicity was validated in serum from each individual patient. Results confirmed that the 12 proteins displayed nearly identical immunoglobulin G antibody levels in patients with pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis. Antigen-specific cellular interferon-γ secretion was also evaluated using a cell-based ELISPOT assay. Thirty-four of the proteins were able to induce positive interferon-γ production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from pulmonary tuberculosis patients as judged by positive (commercial ESAT-6 antigen) and negative controls. The top 4 candidates out of the 34 proteins displayed good accuracy ranging from 50% to 80% compared with the commercial ESAT-6 antigen. Subsequent epitope examination confirmed that a pool of peptides, including a 25aa peptide from Rv1198, demonstrated significant tuberculosis-specific cellular interferon-γ production. Overall, the current study draws significant attention to novel M. tuberculosis antigens, many of which have not been previously reported. This discovery provides a large amount of useful information for the diagnosis of tuberculosis and the development of vaccines to provide protection against tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-906
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


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