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J Clin Microbiol. 2013 Jan;51(1):70-6. doi: 10.1128/JCM.01871-12. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Diagnostic usefulness of ribosomal protein l7/l12 for pneumococcal pneumonia in a mouse model.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

The capsular antigen detection (CAD) kit is widely used in clinics to detect Streptococcus pneumoniae infection from urine, because it is rapid, convenient, and effective. However, there are several disadvantages, including false-positive results in children colonized with S. pneumoniae and prolonged positive readings even after the bacteria have been cleared. RP-L7/L12 is a component of the 50S ribosome that is abundant in all bacteria and is specific for each bacterial species. We investigated whether RP-L7/L12 could be used to accurately diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia infection in mouse models of pneumonia and colonization generated by infecting CBA/JN or CBA/N mice, respectively, with S. pneumoniae strain 741. RP-L7/L12 detection by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay accurately assessed active lung infection, as RP-L7/L12 levels decreased simultaneously with the bacterial lung burden after imipenem administration in the pneumonia mouse model. Based on the data, antibodies detecting RP-L7/L12 were applied to rapid immunochromatographic strips (ICS) for urine sample testing. When we compared the ICS test with the CAD kit in the pneumonia model, the results correlated well. Interestingly, however, when the lung bacterial burden became undetectable after antibiotic treatment, the ICS test was correspondingly negative, even though the same samples tested by the CAD kit remained positive. Similarly, while the ICS test exhibited negative results in the nasal colonization model, the CAD kit demonstrated positive results. Bacterial RP-L7/L12 may be a promising target for the development of new methods to diagnose infectious disease. Further studies are warranted to determine whether such a test could be useful in children.

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