PURPOSE. Chlamydia trachomatis is the leading infectious cause of blindness. The goal of the current study was to search for biomarkers associated with C. trachomatis-induced ocular pathologies. METHODS. We used a whole genome scale proteome array to systematically profile antigen specificities of antibody responses to C. trachomatis infection in individuals from trachomaendemic communities with or without end-stage trachoma (trichiasis) in The Gambia. RESULTS. When 61 trichiasis patients were compared with their control counterparts for overall antibody reactivity with organisms of different chlamydial species, no statistically significant difference was found. Both groups developed significantly higher titers of antibodies against C. trachomatis ocular serovars A and B than ocular serovar C, genital serovar D, or Chlamydia psittaci, whereas the titers of anti-Chlamydia pneumoniae antibodies were the highest. When antisera from 33 trichiasis and 26 control patients (with relatively high titers of antibodies to C. trachomatis ocular serovars) were reacted with 908 C. trachomatis proteins, 447 antigens were recognized by at least 1 of the 59 antisera, and 10 antigens by 50% or more antisera, the latter being designated as immunodominant antigens. More importantly, four antigens were preferentially recognized by the trichiasis group, with antigens CT414, CT667, and CT706 collectively reacting with 30% of trichiasis antisera but none from the normal group, and antigen CT695 reacting with 61% of trichiasis but only 31% of normal antisera. On the other hand, eight antigens were preferentially recognized by the control group, with antigens CT019, CT117, CT301, CT553, CT556, CT571, and CT709 together reacting with 46% of normal antisera and none from the trichiasis group, whereas antigen CT442 reacted with 35% of normal and 19% of trichiasis antisera respectively. CONCLUSIONS. The current study, by mapping immunodominant C. trachomatis antigens and identifying antigens associated with both ocular pathology and protection, has provided important information for further understanding chlamydial pathogenesis and the development of subunit vaccines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience