Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Three recombinant antigens of Treponema pallidum Nichols strain were fused with GST, cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, resulting in high levels of GST-rTp47 and GST-rTp17 expression, and supplementation with arginine tRNA for the AGR codon was needed to obtain GST-rTp15 overexpression. Purified fusion protein yields were 1.9, 1.7 and 5.3 mg/l of cell culture for GST-rTp47, GST-rTp17 and GST-rTp15, respectively. The identities of the antigens obtained were confirmed by automated DNA sequencing using ABI Prism 310 and peptide mapping by Finningan LC/MS. These recombinant antigens were evaluated by immuno-slot blot techniques applied to 137 serum samples from patients with a clinical and laboratory diagnosis of syphilis (61 samples), from healthy blood donors (50 samples), individuals with sexually transmitted
disease other than syphilis (3 samples), and from individuals with other spirochetal diseases such as
Lyme disease (20 samples) and leptospirosis (3 samples). The assay had sensitivity of 95.1% (95% CI, 86.1 to 98.7%) and a specificity of 94.7% (95% CI, 87.0 to 98.7%); a stronger reactivity was observed with fraction rTp17. The immunoreactivity results showed that fusion recombinant antigens based-immuno-slot blot techniques are suitable for use in diagnostic assays for syphilis.