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J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Nov;40(11):4382-7.

Detection of cell wall galactomannoprotein Afmp1p in culture supernatants of Aspergillus fumigatus and in sera of aspergillosis patients.

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Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, University Pathology Building, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong.


Mannoproteins are important and abundant structural components of fungal cell walls. The AFMP1 gene encodes a cell wall galactomannoprotein of Aspergillus fumigatus. In the present study, we show that Afmp1p is secreted into the cell culture supernatant at a level that can be detected by Western blotting. A sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) developed with antibodies against Afmp1p was capable of detecting this protein from the cell culture supernatant of A. fumigatus. The anti-Afmp1p antibody is specific since it fails to react with any protein from lysates of Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus terreus, Penicillium marneffei, Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Blastomyces dermatitidis, and Histoplasma capsulatum by Western blotting. In addition, this Afmp1p antigen-based ELISA is also specific for A. fumigatus since the cell culture supernatants of the other eight fungi gave negative results. Finally, a clinical evaluation of sera from invasive aspergillosis patients indicates that 8 of 15 (53%) patients are Afmp1p antigen test positive. Furthermore, an Afmp1p antibody test was performed with these serum specimens. The combined antibody and antigen tests for invasive aspergillosis carry a sensitivity of 86.7% (13 of 15). The specificities of the tests are high since none of the 138 control sera, including 100 from normal blood donors, 20 from patients with penicilliosis marneffei, 6 from patients with candidemia, 8 from patients with typhoid fever, and 4 from patients with melioidosis, was positive by either test. In conclusion, the combined Afmp1p antibody and antigen tests are highly sensitive and specific for A. fumigatus invasive aspergillosis.

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