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Demonstration and partial characterization of antigens of Rickettsia rhipicephali that induce cross-reactive cellular and humoral immune responses to Rickettsia rickettsii

, : Demonstration and partial characterization of antigens of Rickettsia rhipicephali that induce cross-reactive cellular and humoral immune responses to Rickettsia rickettsii. Infection and Immunity 60(12): 5099-5106

The relative unrelated spotted fever group rickettsia Rickettsia rhipicephali conferred on guinea pigs protective immunity against challenge with virulent R. rickettsii. Immunity was conferred at all doses of R. rhipicephali used in the study. Because of the serologic unrelatedness of these two rickettsiae, determined by the use of microimmunofluorescence and other serological unrelatedness of these two rickettsiae, determined by the use of microimmunofluorescence and other serological assays, further studies were performed to define the nature of the immune response elicited by R. rhipicephali and the characteristics of the rickettsial antigens that evoke cross-reactive antibody responses. Animals immune to R. rhipicephali tested at the time of challenge showed a complete cross-reactive lymphocyte proliferative response to rickettsial antigens prepared from each species. In fact, spleen cells from R. rhipicephali-immune animals responded better to R. rickettsii antigens than to homologous immunizing antigens. Serum samples were obtained from R. rhipicephali-infected animals at various times after infection and tested by the use of Western immunoblot assay for antibodies that were cross-reactive with antigens of R. rickettsii. By 10 days after infection with R. rhipicephali, antibodies to antigens of both species were noted, and by 37 days after infection, sera from immune animals showed strong reactivity to antigens of R. rhipicephali with apparent molecular masses of 107 and 151 kDa. The cross-reactive antibody response to antigens of R. rickettsii was relatively strong and involved predominantly the rOmpB protein and the rickettsial lipopolysaccharide. These findings establish the presence of T-cell-dependent epitopes associated with antigens of R. rhipicephali, which confer protective immunity against challenge with R. rickettsii. Results of Western immunoblot assays support the contention that the R. rickettsii rOmpB surface antigen contains important protective epitopes.

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Accession: 002590334

PMID: 1452343

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