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Clin Exp Immunol. 1999 Feb;115(2):342-9.

Antigenicity of the Leishmania infantum histones H2B and H4 during canine viscerocutaneous leishmaniasis.

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Centro de Biología Molecular 'Severo Ochoa', Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain.


In this study we show that sera from dogs naturally infected with Leishmania infantum contain antibodies that specifically react against the parasite H2B and H4 histones. The Leishmania H2B and the amino-terminal region of the histone H4, expressed as fusion proteins, when confronted with sera from canine viscerocutaneous leishmaniasis (VCL) dogs, were recognized by 63% and 47%, respectively. No reactivity was detected when sera from dogs naturally infected with pathogens other than Leishmania were used. Using a collection of synthetic peptides covering the complete sequence of both proteins, we have determined that the main linear antigenic determinants are located in the amino-terminal domains of these histones. The humoral response against histones H2B and H4 induced during canine leishmaniasis was found to be specific for Leishmania histones, since no cross-reactivity of the VCL sera with mammal histones was observed. Also, a comparative study of the prevalence of antibodies among VCL sera against the four core histones of L. infantum was performed. Although a large heterogeneity of the humoral responses against these proteins was found, histones H2A and H3 seem to be more prevalent immunogens than histones H2B and H4 during canine natural leishmaniasis. The origin of the anti-histone humoral response and its possible implications in the pathogenesis of Leishmania infection are discussed.

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