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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 Jan;11(1):111-4.

Antibody reactivity to Omp31 from Brucella melitensis in human and animal infections by smooth and rough Brucellae.

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Laboratorio de Inmunogenética, Hospital de Clínicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Group 3 of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of Brucella includes Omp25 and Omp31, which share 34% identity. Omp25 is highly conserved in Brucella species, and Omp31 is present in all Brucella species, except Brucella abortus. Antibodies to Brucella melitensis Omp31 have been sought only in infected sheep, and Western blotting of sera from infected sheep did not reveal anti-Omp31 reactivity. We obtained recombinant purified Omp31 (B. melitensis) and tested its recognition by sera from humans and animals suffering from brucellosis by an indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Serum samples from 74 patients, 57 sheep, and 47 dogs were analyzed; brucellosis was confirmed by bacteriological isolation in all ovine and canine cases and 31 human cases of brucellosis. Thirty-five patients (47%) were positive for antibodies to Omp31, including seven cases of Brucella suis infection, two cases of B. abortus infection, and three cases of B. melitensis infection. Of 39 sheep naturally infected with B. melitensis (biovars 1 and 3), 23 (59%) were positive for antibodies to Omp31. Anti-Omp31 antibodies were also detected in 12 of 18 rams (67%) in which Brucella ovis was isolated from semen. Antibodies to Omp31 were also found in 41 (87%) of the 47 dogs, including 13 with recent infection. These results suggest that an indirect ELISA using recombinant purified Omp31 from B. melitensis would be of limited value for the diagnosis of human and animal brucellosis. Nevertheless, the potential usefulness of this antigen in combination with other recombinant proteins from Brucella should not be dismissed.

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