Proteome and antigen profiling of Coxiella burnetii developmental forms.
Additional Document Info
A biphasic developmental cycle whereby highly resistant small-cell variants (SCVs) are generated from large-cell variants (LCVs) is considered fundamental to the virulence of Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of human Q fever. In this study a proteome analysis of C. burnetii developmental forms was conducted to provide insight into their unique biological and immunological properties. Silver-stained gels of SCV and LCV lysates separated by two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis resolved over 675 proteins in both developmental forms. Forty-eight proteins were greater than twofold more abundant in LCVs than in SCVs, with six proteins greater than twofold more abundant in SCVs than in LCVs. Four and 15 upregulated proteins of SCVs and LCVs, respectively, were identified by mass spectrometry, and their predicted functional roles are consistent with a metabolically active LCV and a structurally resistant SCV. One-dimensional and 2-D immunoblots of cell form lysates probed with sera from infected/vaccinated guinea pigs and convalescent-phase serum from human patients who had recovered from acute Q fever, respectively, revealed both unique SCV/LCV antigens and common SCV/LCV antigens that were often differentially synthesized. Antigens recognized during human infection were identified by mass spectroscopy and included both previously described immunodominant proteins of C. burnetii and novel immunogenic proteins that may be important in the pathophysiology of clinical Q fever and/or the induction of protective immunity.