Epitopes of the highly immunogenic Trichomonas vaginalis α-actinin are serodiagnostic targets for both women and men

Calvin J. Neace, J. F. Alderete

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14 Scopus citations


There is a need for a point-of-care serodiagnostic test for women and men for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by Trichomonas vaginalis. Sera from women with this STI and sera from men that were analyzed in studies showing a relationship between serostatus and prostate cancer are highly seropositive in response to trichomonad =-actinin and its truncated protein (ACT-P2) (positive control sera). Epitope mapping experiments showed that positive control sera from women had antibodies to 13 distinct epitopes, 5 of which were detected by positive control sera from men. Sera from women and men that were unreactive with α-actinin (negative control sera) failed to detect any of the epitopes or other α-actinin amino acid sequences. The T. vaginalis α-actinin amino acid sequence and the sequences of the epitopes showed little or no identity with those of other proteins of microbial pathogens or the human α-actinin 1 (HuACTN1) homolog. Immunoassays such as dot blot, immunoblot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used. Positive control sera did not detect HuACTN1 in immunoassays, and the range of levels of identity of α-actinin epitopes with HuACTN1 was 0% to 50%. Comparison of the T. vaginalis α-actinin epitopes with proteins in data banks, such as Tritrichomonas suis, Candida albicans, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins, gave a range of identity levels of 0% to 22%. Specific 15-mer peptide epitopes of α-actinin with low to no identity with other proteins were synthesized and were reactive with positive control sera only. These findings identify epitopes of α-actinin as candidate serodiagnostic targets and suggest strongly that a highly seropositive reaction to α-actinin suggests exposure to T. vaginalis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2483-2490
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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