The controversial discussion about the role of Chlamydia pneumoniae in atherosclerosis cannot be solved without a reliable diagnosis that allows discrimination between past and persistent infections. Using a proteomic approach and immunoblotting with human sera, we identified 31 major C. pneumoniae Ags originating from 27 different C. pneumoniae proteins. More than half of the proteins represent Chlamydia Ags not described previously. Using a comparative analysis of spot reactivity Pmp6, OMP2, GroEL, DnaK, RpoA, EF-Tu, as well as CpB0704 and CpB0837, were found to be immunodominant. The comparison of Abresponse patterns of sera from subjects with and without evidence for persisting C. pneumoniae, determined by multiple PCR analysis of PBMC and vasculatory samples, resulted in differential reactivity for 12 proteins, which is not reflected by reactivity of the sera in the microimmunofluorescence test, the current gold standard for serodiagnosis. Although reactivity of sera from PCR-positive donors was increased toward RpoA, MOMP, YscC, Pmp10, PorB, Pmp21, GroEL, and Cpaf, the reactivity toward YscL, Rho, LCrE, and CpB0837 was decreased, reflecting the altered protein expression of persisting C. pneumoniae in vitro. Our data provide the first evidence of a unique Ab-response pattern associated with persistent C. pneumoniae infections, which is a prerequisite for the serological determination of persistently infected patients. The Journal of Immunology, 2008, 180: 5490-5498.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)