Immunodiagnostic test for detection of serum antibody to Treponema pallidum (Syphilis): Fibronectin as a capture vehicle for treponemal adhesins

John F. Alderete, Linda Freeman-Shade, Joel B. Baseman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Knowledge that Treponema pallidum adhesin proteins bind to host fibronectin (Fn) via ligand-receptor interactions has resulted in development of an ELISA for measuring specific antitreponemal antibodies in sera of syphilitic patients and infected experimental animals. As little as 50 ng of T. pallidum total protein extract added to Fn-coated wells permitted half-maximal levels of ELISA reactivity. Detection of serum antibody from intratesticularly infected rabbits occured at dilutions greater than 1/100,000. Antibody titers in serum from patients with primary and latent syphilis were positive at 1/1000 dilutions while serum samples from patients with secondary syphilis were reactive at 1/10,000. Furthermore, the ELISA proved useful for evaluating serum samples from individuals with other treponemal infections. Antibodies raised against the non-pathogenic spirochete, T. phagedenis biotype Reiter, were non-reactive with Fn-T. palladum complexes. Also, Reiter treponemal proteins did not bind to Fn-coated wells. This ELISA using Fn as a capture vehicle for treponemal adhesin proteins was superior to 3 other routinely used tests for syphilis diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunological Methods
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 28 1985



  • Treponema pallidum
  • immunogenic proteins
  • receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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