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Development of a recombinant indirect ELISA for the diagnosis of Theileria sp. (China) infection in small ruminants


Theileria sp. (China) causes severe limitations on the development of the livestock industry in the north-west of China. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) based on merozoite homogenate of the parasite for diagnosis of infection has been established; however, cross-reactivity with other small ruminant-infecting piroplasms could not be excluded. Thus, a prerequisite for epidemiological surveys and diagnosis was the establishment of a recombinant protein-based ELISA. To this end, serum from Theileria sp. (China)-infected sheep was used to screen a Theileria lestoquardi expression library, resulting in the identification of a specifically reacting clone with a high identity to the heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) of Theileria parva and Theileria annulata and thus named TlHSP70. An HSP70 homologue was also confirmed to be expressed by Theileria sp. (China) merozoites (TcHSP70). A part of the TlHSP70 protein, found to be conserved in TcHSP70, was recombinantly expressed and used to establish an ELISA. A total of 260 field serum samples tested resulted in a sensitivity and specificity of 94.3 and 89.5%, respectively, in comparison with the merozoite homogenate ELISA. The potentials of the application of the test in epidemiological surveys to map out the prevalence of the disease and for routine diagnostics are described.

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This work was supported in part by the European Union (ICA4-1999-30151) and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/BD/6494/2001). Thanks are due to Prof. F. Jongejan for providing sera from T. annulata-infected cattle. We declare that the experiments performed and presented in this report comply with the current laws of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Correspondence to U. Seitzer.

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Miranda, J., Bakheit, M.A., Liu, Z. et al. Development of a recombinant indirect ELISA for the diagnosis of Theileria sp. (China) infection in small ruminants. Parasitol Res 98, 561–567 (2006).

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  • Small Ruminant
  • Babesia
  • Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Test
  • Infected Sheep
  • Fish Gelatin