New insights on serodiagnosis of trichinellosis during window period: early diagnostic antigens from Trichinella spiralis intestinal worms
A clone, designated L20h-Ts3, was selected by immunoscreening of cDNA libraries of Trichinella spiralis worms collected 14h, 20h and 48h post-infection (p.i.) from mice intestines. L20h-Ts3 encodes the full-length of a conserved hypothetical protein of 13.1kDa involving putative interaction with the immune system. PCR analysis showed that L20h-Ts3 mRNA is constitutively expressed throughout T. spiralis life cycle and not restricted to intestinal stages. The L20h-Ts3 fusion protein was obtained in an Escherichia coli expression system and purified by Ni-affinity chromatography before inoculation into mice in order to produce polyclonal antibodies. Then, immunohistochemical study and Western blot analysis revealed its presence within the stichosome of T. spiralis and in excretory/secretory products strengthening a putative fundamental role for the parasite's survival such as host tissue invasion or modification of the host muscular cell phenotype. L20h-Ts3 fusion protein was recognized in Western blot as soon as 15-20 days p.i. by sera from pigs experimentally infected with 20,000 muscle larvae (ML) of T. spiralis. Thus, an indirect L20h-Ts3 ELISA was designed and evaluated using sera from experimentally infected pigs by comparison with the only ELISA currently available for trichinellosis purposes. A gain of precocity from 7 up to 14 days and detection up to 25 weeks p.i. was possible with the L20h-Ts3 ELISA offering a large window for trichinellosis detection. The L20h-Ts3 ELISA was less effective in the case of low infections in pigs. Nevertheless, these results show that the L20h-Ts3 ELISA has a real interest due to its precocity and stability of detection in time. The association of the L20h-Ts3 fusion protein with other antigenic proteins identified previously could appreciably improve the serological test and facilitate its standardization.