An in silico functional annotation and screening of potential drug targets derived from Leishmania spp. hypothetical proteins identified by immunoproteomics.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is one of the important parasitic diseases, with approximately 350 million people at risk. Due to the nonavailability of an ideal drug, development of a safe, effective, and affordable vaccine could be a solution for control and prevention of this disease. The present study was carried out to examine the immunological potential of kinesin protein from the microtubule locus of Leishmania donovani as a suitable vaccine candidate. In silico analysis of this region revealed clusters of major histocompatibility complex class I and II binding epitopes in its motor domain region. A recombinant protein was expressed from this region and named rLvacc. The antigenicity and immunogenicity studies of this protein by Western blot analysis revealed that rLvacc is strongly recognized by sera from acute VL patients. To evaluate its immunogenicity, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from cured VL patients were separated, and a lymphocyte proliferation assay was carried out in the presence of rLvacc. After lymphocyte proliferation, the pooled culture supernatant was assayed for anti-rLvacc antibody titers using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The results showed that immunoglobulin G2 (IgG2) subtype antibodies were predominant, while IgG1 subtype antibodies were produced in very low titers. On the basis of these ex vivo preliminary findings, its immunogenicity was studied in BALB/c mice. Vaccination with the DNA construct generated a good cellular immune response with significant increases in gamma interferon and interleukin-2 (IL-2) cytokine levels (Th1), but no increase in IL-4 levels (Th2). Taken together, our findings suggest the kinesin motor domain region of L. donovani as a potential vaccine candidate against visceral leishmaniasis.