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J Clin Microbiol. 2014 Feb;52(2):536-43. doi: 10.1128/JCM.02433-13. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Circulating Mycobacterium bovis peptides and host response proteins as biomarkers for unambiguous detection of subclinical infection.

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Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.


Bovine tuberculosis remains one of the most damaging diseases to agriculture, and there is also a concern for human spillover. A critical need exists for rapid, thorough, and inexpensive diagnostic methods capable of detecting and differentiating Mycobacterium bovis infection from other pathogenic and environmental mycobacteria at multiple surveillance levels. In a previous study, Seth et al. (PLoS One 4:e5478, 2009, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005478) identified 32 host peptides that specifically increased in the blood serum of M. bovis-infected animals). In the current study, 16 M. bovis proteins were discovered in the blood serum proteomics data sets. A large-scale validation analysis was undertaken for selected host and M. bovis proteins using a cattle serum repository containing M. bovis (n = 128), Mycobacterium kansasii (n = 10), and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (n = 10), cases exposed to M. bovis (n = 424), and negative controls (n = 38). Of the host biomarkers, vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) showed the greatest sensitivity and specificity for M. bovis detection. Circulating M. bovis proteins, specifically polyketide synthetase 5, detected M. bovis-infected cattle with little to no seroreactivity against M. kansasii- and M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis-infected animals. These data indicate that host and pathogen serum proteins can serve as reliable biomarkers for tracking M. bovis infection in animal populations.

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