This work describes the screening of a M. bovis BCG cosmid library in M. smegmatis with a hyperimmune rabbit anti-BCG serum. Cross-reactive antibodies interfere with the detection of BCG specific antigens in M. smegmatis culture filtrates. We, therefore, screened parallel western blots with serum adsorbed with a M. smegmatis cell lysate and unadsorbed serum. Comparison of the western blots allowed distinction between BCG specific and cross-reactive M. smegmatis antigens. Thirty-one cosmids expressed BCG specific antigens. One of them, a hitherto undescribed 100 kDa antigen was subcloned, sequenced and expressed in E. coli. It shows a high degree of homology to ClpB, a member of the Clp family of proteases and was immunologically reactive with the rabbit hyperimmune serum against M. bovis BCG. A positive signal was also obtained with sera of patients with tuberculosis. This antigen is a previously unrecognized target of the human immune response to mycobacteria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine