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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2010 Jul 1;59(2):197-206. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2010.00687.x. Epub 2010 Apr 19.

The search for early markers of plague: evidence for accumulation of soluble Yersinia pestis LcrV in bubonic and pneumonic mouse models of disease.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Israel Institute for Biological Research, Ness-Ziona, Israel.


Markers of the early stages of plague, a rapidly progressing deadly disease, are crucial for enabling the onset of an effective treatment. Here, we show that V-antigen protein (LcrV) is accumulated in the serum of Yersinia pestis-infected mice before bacterial colonization of the spleen and dissemination to blood, in a model of bubonic plague. LcrV accumulation is detected earlier than that of F1 capsular antigen, an established marker of disease. In a mouse model of pneumonic plague, LcrV can be determined in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid somewhat later than F1, but before dissemination of Y. pestis to the blood. Thus, determination of soluble LcrV is suggested as a potential useful tool for monitoring disease progression in both bubonic and pneumonic plague. Moreover, it may be of particular advantage in cases of infections with F1 nonproducing strains.

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