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Microbes Infect. 2004 Feb;6(2):164-71.

The Toxoplasma gondii bradyzoite antigens BAG1 and MAG1 induce early humoral and cell-mediated immune responses upon human infection.

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Kenton Laboratories, Via Pontina Km 30.400, Rome 00040, Italy.


Infection of humans by Toxoplasma gondii leads to an acute systemic phase, in which tachyzoites disseminate throughout the body, followed by a chronic phase characterized by the presence of tissue cysts, containing bradyzoites, in brain, heart and skeletal muscles. This work focused on studying the antigenic regions of bradyzoite-specific proteins involved in human B- and T-cell responses. To this aim, we constructed a phage-display library of DNA fragments derived from the bradyzoite-specific genes BAG1, MAG1, SAG2D, SAG4, BSR4, LDH2, ENO1 and p-ATPase. Challenge of the bradyzoite library with sera of infected individuals led to the identification of antigenic regions within BAG1 and MAG1 gene products. Analysis of the humoral and lymphoproliferative responses to recombinant antigens demonstrated that the BAG1 fragment induced T-cell proliferation in 34% of T. gondii-exposed individuals, while 50% of them had specific IgG. In the same subjects, the MAG1 fragment was recognized by T cells from 17% of the exposed donors and by antibodies from 73% of them. A detailed analysis of the antibody response against BAG1 and MAG1 antigen fragments demonstrated that the immune response against bradyzoites occurs early after infection in humans. Finally, we provide evidence that the T-cell response against BAG1 is associated with the production of interferon-gamma, suggesting that bradyzoite antigens should be considered in the design of potential vaccines in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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