Detection of Equine Antibodies to Babesia caballi by Recombinant B. caballi Rhoptry-Associated Protein 1 in a Competitive-Inhibition Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay

Abstract

A competitive-inhibition enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) was developed for detection of equine antibodies specific for Babesia caballi. The assay used recombinant B. caballi rhoptry-associated protein 1 (RAP-1) and monoclonal antibody (MAb) 79/17.18.5, which is reactive with a peptide epitope of a native 60-kDa B. caballi antigen. The gene encoding the recombinant antigen was sequenced, and database analysis revealed that the gene product is a rhoptry-associated protein. Cloning and expression of a truncated copy of the gene demonstrated that MAb 79/17.18.5 reacts with the C-terminal repeat region of the protein. The cELISA was used to evaluate 302 equine serum samples previously tested for antibodies to B. caballi by a standardized complement fixation test (CFT). The results of cELISA and CFT were 73 % concordant. Seventy-two of the 77 serum samples with discordant results were CFT negative and cELISA positive. Further evaluation of the serum samples with discordant results by indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA) demon-strated that at a serum dilution of 1:200, 48 of the CFT-negative and cELISA-positive serum samples contained antibodies reactive with B. caballi RAP-1. Four of five CFT-positive and cELISA-negative serum sample

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