Antigen 2 (Ag2), a major immunoreactive component of Coccidioides immitis mycelium- and spherule-phase cell walls, was recently cloned in our laboratory and was shown to elicit T-cell responses in Coccidioides-immune mice. In this investigation, we evaluated recombinant Ag2 (rAg2) and PCR- generated Ag2 truncations for expression of B-cell-reactive epitopes in enzyme-linked immunosorbent and immunoblot assays with sera from patients with active coccidioidomycosis, a hyperimmune goat anti-Ag2 serum, and a murine anti-Ag2 monoclonal antibody that recognizes a conformational epitope. The results established that rag2 expresses both linear and conformational B- cell-reactive epitopes which are localized to a domain comprised of amino acids 19 through 96 (designated A19-96). Truncations designed to identify epitopes within the A19-96 domain yielded fragments that either were nonreactive (A62-194, A19-61, and A49-79) or showed reduced reactivity (A19- 79). Hence, A19-96 was the shortest domain expressing epitopes recognized by the panel of antibodies. The prevalence of antibodies to the A19-96 domain was evaluated in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays of sera from 28 coccidioidomycosis patients. Antibody reactivity was detected in 79% of the patients' sera, and the level of antibody reactivity was directly correlated with disease severity. Whereas patients with pulmonary disease showed a mean response (A405) of 0.16 ± 0.04, patients with disseminated coccidioidomycosis showed a mean response of 0.69 ± 0.17 (P < 0.05). No reactivity was detected with sera from histoplasmosis or blastomycosis patients. The production of a recombinant peptide that expresses C. immitis- specific Ag2 epitopes provides a useful reagent for examining the role of anti-Ag2 antibodies in coccidioidomycosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases