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Vet Microbiol. 1991 Jul;28(2):199-211.

Competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for heartwater using monoclonal antibodies to a Cowdria ruminantium-specific 32-kilodalton protein.

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Department of Tropical Veterinary Medicine and Protozoology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht, Netherlands.


Hybridomas producing monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to Cowdria ruminantium were raised. Four mAbs of the IgG isotype reacted in western blots with a 32-kilodalton Cowdria protein (Cr32), which had previously been shown to be conserved and immunodominant. A fifth mAb of the IgM isotype recognized a 40-kDa Cowdria protein. The latter mAb was negative in an indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFA), whereas the other four were positive. mAb No. 4F10B4 showed the strongest signal in western blots using three different stocks of Cowdria. Immuno-gold labeling of Cowdria organisms in vitro using 4F10B4 showed that Cr32 has surface-exposed antigenic determinants. Using mAb 4F10B4, a competitive ELISA was developed which detected specific Cowdria antibodies in goat, sheep and cattle sera. Antibodies in animal sera competed with binding of mAb 4F10B4 to a crude sonicated Cowdria antigen obtained from infected endothelial cell cultures. The competition ELISA (CELISA) detected antibodies in 55 out of 70 (79%) goats experimentally infected with one of eight different Cowdria stocks. Fourteen out of the 15 sera which were shown negative in the CELISA were also negative in the IFA. Nevertheless, all 15 sera recognized some epitopes of the immunodominant Cowdria-specific 32 kDa protein as judged from their reaction with this protein in western blots. Overall, there was 89% agreement between CELISA and IFA considering all 70 goat sera. Moreover, antibodies were detected in nine out of nine sheep infected with one of three different stocks of Cowdria and in sera from calves experimentally infected by two different strains of heartwater. There were no cross-reactions with Ehrlichia phagocytophila antibodies in goat sera, nor with Anaplasma marginale antibodies in bovine sera. Lack of cross-reactivity and detection of antibodies to eight geographically widely distributed stocks of Cowdria, makes the competition ELISA a promising test for use in heartwater endemic areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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